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Eupelmus species

(Life: Kingdom: Metazoa (animals); Phylum: Arthropoda; Class: Hexapoda; Order: Hymenoptera; Superfamily: Chalcidoidea; Family: Eupelmidae; Subfamily: Eupelminae; Genus: Eupelmus)

Eupelmus species.

A Eupelmus female attempting to oviposit into the cocoon of a microgastrine braconid wasp, which is itself housed inside the cocoon of a moth species in the family Urodidae. The braconid wasp larvae would have been an internal parasitoid of the host moth caterpillar and would have finally killed the host after the host caterpillar had spun the outer cocoon in preparation for pupation. The braconid wasp larva would then have spun its own ovoid cocoon and pupated inside this structure inside the moth cocoon, the latter having evolved to reduce the incidence of parasitism at the pupal stage.

The last two images depict the hypopygium of the Eupelmus female extended, which means that she has deployed her ovipositor through the lattice network surrounding the cocoon. Whether her ovipositor is long enough to reach the braconid cocoon is not clear in the photographs, but if she has succeeded then this would be an example of hyper-parasitism.

Micromus timidus Hagen, 1853 (identification by Mervyn Mansell, 2018). It was originally postulated that the cocoon under attack by the eupelmid could potentially be that of this Brown lacewing, but consultation with Mervyn Mansell and various other lacewing specialists suggests that this is not a Hemerobiidae or Sisyridae cocoon. Consultation with the braconid expert, Donald Quick, confirmed that the internal cocoon is that of a microgastrine braconid that has parasitized a moth (Urodidae) caterpillar, the latter being responsible for constructing the outer lattice network cocoon.


South Africa.


Possibly a parasitoid of Brown lacewing pupae (Hemerobiidae).


Gibson, G.A.P. 1995. Parasitic wasps of the subfamily Eupelminae: classification and revision of world genera (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Eupelmidae). Memoirs on Entomology, International 5: 1-421.


Photographs Andrea Sander.

Map illustration Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa).

Web author Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum)


Citation: van Noort, S. 2024. WaspWeb: Hymenoptera of the World. URL: www.waspweb.org (accessed on <day/month/year>).

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