Filming VarWild: Papilio machaon

Life cycle of butterflies in Provence

The Swallowtail (Papilio machaon Linné, 1758)

This documentary shows the different parasitoids this big and well known butterfly has to confront, during the different stages of development of its life-cycle.


Trichogrammatidae : Trichogramma gicai parasitizes eggs of Papilio machaon

In the spring of 2014 for the first time in France Trichogramma gicai (Pintureau & Stefanescu, 2000) was reard from the eggs of Papilio machaon, a new host for T. gicai. Until 2014 T. gicai was only known from Spain (and Madera).

On the Iberian peninsula T. gicai was reared from eggs of Iphiclides podalirius (Linné, 1758) and the Noctuidae, Mamestra brassicae (Linné, 1775). From Madera T. gicai was reared from the endemic Pararge xiphia (Fabricius, 1775) and P. aegeria (Linné, 1758) (Gibbs et al., 2004).

Identified by Dr. Andrew Polaszek

Tachinidae : Papilio machaon parasitized by Buquetia musca

The parasitoid Buquetia musca (Robineau-Desvoidy, 1847) is specialized in parasitizing only the caterpillars of Papilio machaon.

Identified by Dr. Hans-Peter Tschorsnig

    Biological observations on Buquetia musca (Robineau-Desvoidy) (Diptera: Tachinidae), a parasitoid of Papilio machaon Linné (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae)

2015 - Pieter Kan & Brigitte Kan-van Limburg Stirum
Filming VarWild (March, 2015)

Buquetia musca is a tachinid that parasitizes the caterpillars of Papilio machaon. Oviposition behaviour of this parasitoid has been studied and, for the first time, deposition of eggs on the skin of the caterpillar has been observed and filmed. Subsequently, the development of parasitized caterpillars has been followed and recorded.

Tachinidae : Buquetia musca - Attack 1, Callas, 26 May 2013

Tachinidae : Buquetia musca - Attack 2, Callas, 26 May 2013

Tachinidae : Buquetia musca - Attack 3, Callas, 26 May 2013

Tachinidae : Buquetia musca - Attack 5, Callas, 7 August 2013

Tachinidae : Buquetia musca - Attack 6, Callas, 13 August 2013

Tachinidae : Buquetia musca - Attack 7, Callas, 13 August 2013

Ichneumonidae : Papilio machaon parasitized by Trogus lapidator

The parasitoid Trogus lapidator (Fabricius, 1787) is a specialist who only parasitizes the caterpillars of the genus Papilio (P. machaon and P. alexanor). After parasitizing the caterpillar with one single egg the larva develops inside the body. Once the caterpillar has become a chrysalis the parasitoid wasp emerges from a lateral hole in the wing case.

Identified by Dr. Mark R. Shaw

    Emergence behaviour of adult Trogus lapidator (Fabricius)(Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae, Ichneumoninae, Heresiarchini) from pupa of its host Papilio machaon L. (Lepidoptera, Papilionidae), with a comparative overview of emergence of Ichneumonidae from Lepidoptera pupae in Europe

2015 - Mark R. Shaw, Pieter Kan & Brigitte Kan-van Limburg Stirum,
JHR 47: 65–85

Unusually for Ichneumonidae, Trogus lapidator emerges through a hole in the pupal wing case of its papilionid butterfly host that is made largely by a liquid secretion that softens and disintegrates the host tissue. The mandibles are deployed to help spread the secretion, but only towards the very end of the emergence process are they used (and then only in a minor way) to enlarge the hole. Links to video clips showing the emergence of T. lapidator are provided. Photographs illustrating the nature of emergence holes left in Lepidoptera pupae by a range of Ichneumonidae and some Chalcidoidea are presented and discussed, contrasting with the emergence hole left by Trogus and close allies.

Ichneumonidae : Trogus lapidator 1st emerging - 16 September 2013

Ichneumonidae : Trogus lapidator 2nd emerging - 16 September 2013

Pteromalidae : Papilio machaon parasitized by Pteromalus puparum

Pteromalus puparum (Linné, 1758) is a generalist of 2mm, parasitizing especially the chrysalis of different species of butterflies from the families Papilionidae, Pieridae et Nymphalidae.

Identified by Dr. Richard Askew

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