Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #258846

Title: Review of parasitic wasps and flies (Hymenoptera, Diptera) attacking Limacodidae (Lepidoptera) in North America, with a key to genera

item Gates, Michael
item O'HARA, J. - Agriculture And Agri-Food Canada
item Kula, Robert
item SMITH, D. - Retired ARS Employee
item LILL, J. - George Washington University
item WHITFIELD, J. - University Of Illinois
item STOEPLER, T. - George Washington University
item WAHL, D. - American Entomological Institute
item MURPHY, S. - University Of Colorado

Submitted to: Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2010
Publication Date: 2/24/2012
Citation: Gates, M.W., O'Hara, J.E., Kula, R.R., Smith, D.R., Lill, J.T., Whitfield, J.B., Stoepler, T.M., Wahl, D.B., Murphy, S.M. 2012. Review of parasitic wasps and flies (Hymenoptera, Diptera) attacking Limacodidae (Lepidoptera) in North America, with a key to genera. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 114(1):24-110.

Interpretive Summary: Slug caterpillar moths are often problematic pests in agroecosystems, causing millions of dollars worldwide in direct losses to valuable crops like tea and oil palms. Certain species are invasive globally and have negative economic and health impacts as they can cause painful itching/swelling upon contact with human skin. Parasitic wasps and flies often attack slug caterpillars, providing biological control of these pests, and can significantly reduce associated negative impacts. Based in large part on the slug caterpillar rearing efforts from 2004-2009 from the central and eastern United States, this paper provides both an illustrated key to the genera of parasitic wasps and flies known from slug caterpillars in North America, a table of plant/caterpillar/parasite associations, and a discussion of potential associations. This information will be useful to scientists, biological control workers, ecologists, and extension agents.

Technical Abstract: Hymenopteran and dipteran parasitoids of slug caterpillars (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae) from North America are reviewed and an illustrated key to 17 genera is presented. Limacodid surveys and rearing were conducted by the Lill lab (JTL, SMM, TMS) during the summer months of 2004–2009 as part of their investigations on the ecology and natural history of Limacodidae. Parasitoid rearing involved a combination of collecting naturally occurring larvae in the field (~ 15 host species) and placing out large numbers of ‘sentinal’ larvae derived from lab colonies of three host species. Genera (genera not recorded in the Lill study but included in the key follow in [ ]) of the families Chalcididae ([1]; Chalcidoidea), Eulophidae (3 [1]; Chalcidoidea), Pteromalidae ([1]; Chalcidoidea), Trichogrammatidae (1; Chalcidoidea), Braconidae (3 [1]; Ichneumonoidea), Ichneumonidae (3; Ichneumonoidea), Ceraphronidae (1; Ceraphronoidea), Trigonalidae (2; Trigonaloidea), and Tachinidae (3; Diptera) were recovered as primary or secondary parasitoids of Limacodidae as part of this study. These records are augmented with previously published host-parasitoid relationships for Limacodidae in North America North of Mexico. The male of Platyplectrus americana is redescribed and the female is newly described. Incidental and miscellaneous host associations are discussed. A new combination is proposed for Trirhaphis eupoeyiae (from Rogas).