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Braconid Wasp Cocoons on a Banded Tussock Moth Larva I found this moth larva on the wheel well of one of our tires on the motorhome. It was still alive but had been parasitized by Braconid wasps (as evidenced by the attached cocoons). This larva lived for at least another 2 weeks as I saw it move to different locations.<br />
<br />
A really cool article about the different types of Braconids on caterpillars:<br />
<a href="https://butterfly-fun-facts.com/braconid-wasps-are-parasitoids-of-butterfly-and-moth-caterpillars/" rel="nofollow">https://butterfly-fun-facts.com/braconid-wasps-are-parasitoids-of-butterfly-and-moth-caterpillars/</a> Banded tussock moth,Fall,Geotagged,Halysidota tessellaris,United States Click/tap to enlarge Promoted

Braconid Wasp Cocoons on a Banded Tussock Moth Larva

I found this moth larva on the wheel well of one of our tires on the motorhome. It was still alive but had been parasitized by Braconid wasps (as evidenced by the attached cocoons). This larva lived for at least another 2 weeks as I saw it move to different locations.

A really cool article about the different types of Braconids on caterpillars:
https://butterfly-fun-facts.com/braconid-wasps-are-parasitoids-of-butterfly-and-moth-caterpillars/

    comments (8)

  1. Great find! Posted 9 months ago
    1. Thanks! I thought it was so cool! Posted 9 months ago
  2. Well found. The circle of Life Lisa Posted 9 months ago
    1. Thank you, Niel! It was wild! Posted 9 months ago
  3. Lovely find! Posted 9 months ago
    1. Thanks, Wesley! Posted 9 months ago
  4. Very cool, but gruesome fate for the caterpillar. Posted 9 months ago
    1. Yes, it suffered a slow death. 2 weeks later, several of the wasps had emerged (I did not see this in person, unfortunately), and the caterpillar was extremely sluggish.

      I had considered putting the caterpillar out of its misery early on, but then I would have to feel guilty about the Braconid wasps. I really don't want to upset any balance in nature!
      Posted 9 months ago

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"Halysidota tessellaris", also called the banded tussock moth, is in Erebidae. Like many related species, it has chemical defenses it acquires from its host plants, in this case, alkaloids, at least in adults. Larval brazen behaviours suggest that they are chemically protected; they have not been analyzed for alkaloid content.

Similar species: Moths And Butterflies
Species identified by Lisa Kimmerling
View Lisa Kimmerling's profile

By Lisa Kimmerling

All rights reserved
Uploaded Feb 27, 2022. Captured Oct 14, 2021 12:07 in 333 Park Dr NE, Ranger, GA 30734, USA.
  • Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • f/14.0
  • 1/49s
  • ISO640
  • 100mm