Meteorus pulchricornis – Admiral pest

This topic contains 4 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Charlotte 8 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #14619

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Charlotte found this pest on their nettles:

    Meteorus pulchricornis is its name, and the object at the end of the silk thread is the pupa. The wasp lays an egg into the caterpillar, the resulting grub that hatches then eats away the internal tissue of the caterpillar, leaving the vital organs so the caterpillar will live longer. In the final stages the grub exits through its hosts skin, lowers itself on a silk thread and pupates, as in your photograph. Not as bad as Pteromalus puparum in that this one only produces one wasp per caterpillar, but none the less destructive.

    https://www.monarch.org.nz/2011/02/02/meteorus-pulchricornis-photos/

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  • #26221

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Sounds like a trip to the museum coming up. I can then go AGAIN to the Outrageous Fortune exhibit. hee hee

    Cheers
    Char

    #26214

    John Early
    Participant

    Two years ago Rob Herd found one attacking one of his yellow admiral larvae at Matakana. The miscreant (the wasp, not Rob!) is now in the museum collection.

    #26202

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Char – that is very interesting.

    You already know your co-ordinates, as you get those when tagging – but I guess you knew that already!

    An interesting story for the Autumn newsletter.

    J.

    #26201

    Charlotte
    Participant

    Hi All

    Not sure the photo is an Admiral chrysalis as I’ve had an email in from John Early. I have copied and pasted John’s comments into here for everyone to read.

      Thanks for those very interesting photos. I agree with Norm that it is most likely to be Meteorus pulchricornis but I don?t think that it?s host is an admiral chrysalis. What it?s hanging from looks like a young-ish larva of the native case moth (aka bag moth) Liothula omnivora. That makes more sense, because if it was the admiral it would be very strange for it to manage to pupate. This parasite kills its host larva and I expect the case moth caterpillar?s shrivelled remains will still be inside its protective case/bag.

      This species has a very wide host range in other parts of the world and attacks moths and butterflies in a wide range of families ? including nymphalid and lycaenid butterflies ? however a quick search indicates that the bag moths (family Psychidae) are not yet recorded as hosts. So, your case is very interesting and might be the first record. I would love to have the parasite cocoon and also the remains of its host as verification if you still have it. When the wasp emerges and I prepare and add it to the museum collection I would also like, with your permission, to attach your photos to the computer database record. Also needed are the precise location where you captured it (street address will do and I can use google earth to convert it to a lat/long), the name of the host plant, date captured, and your middle initials of your name (if any).

    Certainly makes for an exciting waiting period to see what it is or happens from here.

    Cheers
    Char

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