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Videos of Parasitoid Wasps and their Caterpillar Hosts

This first video was recently submitted to the 2013 ESA YouTube Your Entomology contest by Justin Bredlau, a PhD student at Virginia Commonwealth University. The video shows the life of the parasitic wasp, Cotesia congregata, and two of its hosts. It includes courtship behavior, parasitizing of the host, and larval egression.

More information on the high-speed video and the courtship song can be found in an article by Justin and his colleagues called “Characterization and Generation of Male Courtship Song in Cotesia congregata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)” that appeared in the journal PLOS One.

Watch the video below:

If you liked that, then be sure to check out this similar video (below) from last year’s YouTube Your Entomology contest. It was conceptualized and created by Rick Foster and John Obermeyer, Purdue Extension Entomology, and assisted by Sarah Thompson, a Purdue Entomology graduate now with Dow AgroSciences in Hawaii.

“Home gardeners often notice fuzzy, white ‘eggs’ on hornworms in the later-summer,” the filmmakers wrote. “These are actually the spun cocoons of parasites, in the wasp family Braconidae, that fed and grew within the hornworm, nearly killing it in the process. Tiny wasps will soon emerge from the cocoons and mate, then females will seek other hornworms in which to insert their eggs. Watch time-lapse photography of hornworms feeding on a green tomato, wasp larvae emerging (chewing their way through the skin), pupating, and then emerging as adults in minutes.”


  1. How effectively does this parasitization kill or disable the horn-worm? Do these wasps significantly reduce populations and damage caused by these horn-worms?

  2. John, Justin Bredlau, who made the first video, wrote, “Parasitization eventually kills the host if the wasp larvae develop and egress. The hornworms continue to feed as the wasp larvae grow inside of them, however the hornworms do not develop into adults and therefore do not breed. This may suppress the hornworm population. Other species of parasitic wasps have been used in biocontrol programs of their respective hosts.”

  3. suddenly I have met pupae of wasp paritoides. a amazed because these pupae ware hatched near a caterpillar not on his body. but
    I examined carefully I could see damage od edge of caterpillar. I clarified tat by watching your video. thanks so much for this occasion to get and updated my suspicious

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