Chris Woods's picture

Parasitised peacock(?) caterpillars

Observed: 1st September 2013 By: Chris Woods
parasitised peacock(?) caterpillar held in fingers
2 of the group of parasitised caterpillars

in a 3m x 1m patch of nettles there were c30 parasitised peacock(?) caterpillars. Inside each of the dry foam clusters (texture of expanded polystyrene) under the dead caterpillar were c 20 pupae, c 3-4mm long.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Chris Woods's picture

parasitised [peacock(?)] small tortoiseshell caterpillars

Many thanks for your suggestions.
Regrettably I didn't collect any pupae so cannot do as suggested. Looking through the images of "Other observations of Braconidae", the cocoons there do not seem to be covered by any foam like material, which is what initially made these so conspicuous, but I appreciate they could just be of different species of Braconid.
Those images I have seen from the link, also show the pupae not to be covered by foam like material.
Any further thoughts/comments appreciated.

DavidHowdon's picture


Chris Woods's picture

parasitised small tortoiseshell caterpillars

I've had it suggested to me that they could be "a braconid parasitoid (genus Cotesia, probably C. vanessae) - not the commonest source of parasitism (we found they kill about 1-2% of small tort larvae), but still widespread. ".
I have no knowledge of Braconids, wondered what others thought of this suggestion?

DavidHowdon's picture

The examples

I linked to were of genus Cotesia (on other species) so this may be plausible. Gavin Broad is on iSpot and knows a lot about these things. I suspect he will come across this entry at some point and be able to provide you with more information.