Insect and Bug ID forum: Parasite? Egg?

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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
May 1, 2016 8:15 PM CST
I hope I'm posting this on the right forum. Lots of smart people on here. My Passiflora 'Lavender Lady' is currently covered in Gulf Fritillary caterpillars which is great. I noticed one yesterday that looked like it was leftover molted skin. I had seen a caterpillar in that same spot the day before so it made sense. On closer inspection, I noticed it was not the molted skin, but that the caterpillar was indeed dead. And there was an odd, white egg-shaped thing attached to the same leaf right in front of the corpse. Not wanting anything to proliferate and kill more caterpillars, I picked the leaf, threw it on the ground, and stepped on it. I looked, and there were some little black specks in the "egg", but nothing I could identify as being a bug or anything. So...does this look familiar to anyone?

Thumb of 2016-05-02/mellielong/ca3586

Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
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JRsbugs
May 2, 2016 5:29 AM CST
It's likely to be a parasitic wasp which laid it's eggs in the caterpillar. Once they have eaten out the inside of the caterpillar they eat their way out, spin themselves into cocoons in a mass cocoon.

There's a video on the following link which shows what happens, this also happens to the 7-spot Ladybird where the larvae spin a cocoon beneath the beetle after cutting nerves to the legs so they can't move. The host stays alive until it starves to death, I have seen a live 7-spot with the parasite underneath it, creepy!

http://mygarden.rhs.org.uk/blogs/miranda_hodgson/archive/201...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMG-LWyNcAs&feature=player_e...

http://bugguide.net/node/view/980846

You can see the wounds on the caterpillar, although the cocoon looks more like a single parasite than several together it does appear to have come from the caterpillar. Tachinid flies are another possibility.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Gulf+Fritillary+caterpilla...

Thumb of 2016-05-02/JRsbugs/bebd67

[Last edited by JRsbugs - May 2, 2016 5:31 AM (+)]
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Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
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JRsbugs
May 2, 2016 5:38 AM CST
Similar cocoons ..

http://www.butterfly-fun-facts.com/butterfly-enemies/parasit...

http://www.butterfly-fun-facts.com/butterfly-enemies/parasit...

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Gulf+Fritillary+caterpilla...
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Garden Art
Plumerias Hibiscus Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Dog Lover Cat Lover
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plantmanager
May 2, 2016 9:08 AM CST
@JRsbugs
Thank you. I'm so glad to see you're still helping us with your knowledge and experience with insects. We'd be lost without you! Thank You! Thank You!
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
May 2, 2016 9:15 AM CST
Yes, thanks Janet! It's awesome knowing you are around to help! I've been raising butterflies nine years now, and I've had the parasitic wasps that emerge singly from the chrysalis of the butterfly, I've seen the Tachinid Flies and their "fluff" but only in the wild. I suppose I'm lucky that this is my first run in with this parasite. And I suppose the mass quantities of Gulf Fritillaries I have right now probably attract too much attention from predators. This is good info to know for the future. And I'm totally glad I stepped on it! They can go parasitize someone else's caterpillars!
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
Image
JRsbugs
May 2, 2016 9:50 AM CST
Karen, it's in my blood, I couldn't possibly abandon you all! Sticking tongue out

Melanie, I think I would have squashed it too! About the only thing I will squash is the Red Lily Beetle, which is an invader here in the last few years.

It was a horrible thing to see a 7-spot Ladybird moving it's head slightly, with a parasite under it. I knew there was nothing I could do, and I didn't want to kill the beetle even though it's days were numbered. Survival of the species may be essential but I wish they would do it out of my sight.

Thanks for Acorn Acorn


Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
May 2, 2016 10:00 AM CST
I couldn't agree more! I am endlessly grateful that you are sticking around Janet. You offer soooo very much to us.
Name: Janet Super Sleuth
Near Lincoln UK
Charter ATP Member Organic Gardener Garden Photography Bee Lover Dragonflies Cat Lover
Butterflies Birds Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Spiders!
Image
JRsbugs
May 2, 2016 5:18 PM CST
I tip my hat to you. Thumbs up Smiling
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Garden Art
Plumerias Hibiscus Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
plantmanager
May 2, 2016 5:58 PM CST
[quote="JRsbugs"]Karen, it's in my blood, I couldn't possibly abandon you all! Sticking tongue out
Thank You! Thank You! We all appreciate your help here!





Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!

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