Admiral parasite

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Rob Herd has forwarded these photographs of a parasite on an Admiral.

John Early, the Auckland War Memorial Museum Head Entomologist, identified it as Meteorus pulchricornis.

It is a known larval parasite for several lepidoptera.

When there is a clear parasite to host relationship, ie when the parasitised host dies and resulting parasite larvae emerges to cocoon and then into adult wasp, then Yellow Admirals will be recgonised as a host for the wasp species. 

All I was able to do was collect a specimen that had taken a couple of attempts at laying an egg inside a Yellow Admiral caterpillar. I don’t have as yet is a clear parasite to host relationship. That kind of collected data is what I am after.

Because of the above I believe Yellow Admiral larvae are now on the menu for dinner by M pulchricornis. All the literature that I have been able to source has only indicated that Yellow Admirals had two pupal parasites 1: Petromalus puparum (Pteromalidae) -a tiny Pteromalid wasp introduced summer 1932-33 to control cabbage white,

2: A large Australian ichneumonid wasp Echthromorpha intricatoria.

But upon contacting Norm Twigge I found out that there is larval parasite for Yellow Admirals called  Apanteles glomeratus , a chalcid wasp that was also introduced to try and combat the Cabbage white butterfly.

Norm has not had any problems with larval parasites, and only has to protect his pupae from the pupal parasites.

Rob Herd

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