Filming VarWild: A. cardamines

Life cycle of butterflies in Provence


Braconidae : Cotesia saltator parasitizes Anthocharis cardamines

The parasitoid wasp Cotesia saltator (Thunberg, 1822) is a parasitoid of Anthocharini and is commonly reared from Anthocharis cardamines much less often A. euphenoides and Euchloe crameri. One egg is injected into the body of the jong caterpillar. The larva lives insite the body of the caterpillar and leaves its host before pupating.

Identified by Dr. Mark R. Shaw

Braconidae : Microplitis retentus parasitizes Anthocharis cardamines

The parasitoid wasp Microplitis retentus (Papp, 1984) parasitizes the young caterpillars of butterflies belonging to the tribe Anthocharini of the family Pieridae.

This wasp of 5 mm parasitized a young caterpillars of the Orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines (Linnaeus, 1758)) . Using its ovipositor, it inject a single egg in its victim. The parasitoid larva develops inside its host (endoparasitoid) where it lives off the haemolymph, without preventing the host's growth. When the caterpillar becomes about 15 mm it climbs high up on the food-plant, and after some time the larva erupts between the 2nd and 3rd abdominal prolegs, and then it immediately spins a cocoon next to the caterpillar, which remains alive for a few days.

Remarks and identification, Dr. Mark R. Shaw

In the rearing shown here, the wasp emerged from its cocoon quite rapidly, and there is then a further generation, overwintering in the cocoon. However, it may be more usual for there to be only one generation, with harder and darker cocoons that withstand not only the rest of the summer but also the winter.

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