Which parasitoid?

A parasitoid maggot or larva emerges from your caterpillar or chrysalis. What is it? How can you tell?

Trogus pennator parasitoid parasite wasp butterfly swallowtail

Trogus pennator wasp
Swallowtail butterfly parasitoid
Emerges as an adult from a chrysalis

Here are a few tips about the parasitoids you’re most apt to see.

From caterpillars:
Tachinid fly maggots/larvae (some species leave via a mucus strand that dries into a white string)
Braconid wasp larvae (which then make their cocoons on or near the caterpillar)

From chrysalises:
Tachinid fly larvae
Trogus wasp larvae (normally from swallowtail butterflies)
Chalcid wasp adults

Trogus pennator parasitoid parasite wasp butterfly swallowtail

Trogus wasp emerges as an adult
Often parasitizes swallowtails

Braconid wasp larvae Emerges from caterpillars

Braconid wasp larvae
Emerges from caterpillars
Make cocoons on or near caterpillar

Chalcid wasps emerge from chrysalis

Chalcid wasps emerge from chrysalis
May be black, yellow, or another color
Color depends on wasp species

Yellow chalcid wasp emerges from sulphur chrysalises

Yellow chalcid wasp
emerged from sulphur chrysalises

If a chrysalis breaks open, you may see chalcid larvae in it. Chalcid larvae do not emerge from a chrysalis. Only adults emerge from a chrysalis. Click here to see chalcid wasps leaving a Monarch butterfly chrysalis.

Swallowtail chrysalis split open Filled with chalcid wasp larvae

Swallowtail chrysalis split open
Filled with chalcid wasp larvae

Male chalcid wasp leaving chrysalis of Black Swallowtail butterfly

Male chalcid wasp leaving chrysalis of Black Swallowtail butterfly

Chalcid wasps lay eggs in soft chrysalises

Chalcid wasps lay eggs in soft chrysalises

Ichneuman wasps emerge from chrysalises

Ichneuman wasps emerge from chrysalises

Ichneuman wasp hole left in a chrysalises

Ichneuman wasp hole left in a chrysalises

Ichneuman wasp larva left caterpillar skin and made a small cocoon

Ichneuman wasp larva
left caterpillar skin as if molting
and made a small cocoon

Ichneuman wasp cocoon

Ichneuman wasp cocoon
Skin of caterpillar right of cocoon

Tachinid fly maggot emerged from a J'ing caterpillar

Tachinid fly maggot emerged from a J’ing caterpillar
Some emerge from dead caterpillars
without leaving a string.



Click on this sentence to see a maggot moving after leaving a dead moth caterpillar.

Tachinid fly maggots/larvae can emerge from chrysalis as well as a caterpillar

Tachinid fly maggots/larvae can emerge from chrysalis as well as a caterpillar

Dagger moth caterpillar with several tachinid fly maggots yet to emerge

Dead dagger moth caterpillar
with several tachinid fly
maggots yet to emerge

There are many parasitoid/parasite species other than these few listed.

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