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How to Manage Pests

Identification: Natural Enemies Gallery

Hyposoter exiguae

Scientific name: Hyposoter exiguae

Life stages of Hyposoter exiguae

Click on image to enlarge

Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Ichneumonidae

Common hosts: Armyworms, cabbage looper, tomato fruitworm, and tussock moth, and other caterpillars in many other crops

Commercially available: No

DESCRIPTION      Life Cycle

The adult wasp is black with lighter colored abdomen and legs, and is 0.25 to 0.50 inch (6-12 mm) long. The larva is a light, translucent green. Hyposoter exiguae undergoes complete metamorphosis. The adult wasp lays its egg in the caterpillar. After hatching, the larva develops within the caterpillar, and the host caterpillar shrinks and becomes hard and brittle. The parasite then spins a cocoon inside the larval skin, or the caterpillar skin splits and the parasite emerges and pupates outside the host. Parasite development time from oviposition until adult emergence is about 1 month.

Look for the white speckled Hyposoter cocoons on leaves in the field. To find a parasitized larva look for a pale-green parasite inside. This is done by pulling either end of the caterpillar and allowing the wasp larva to pop out.

Hyposoter exiguae is one of at least 27 Hyposoter spp. in the United States, which attack dozens of different caterpillars.


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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