Archytas marmoratus (parasitoid)

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Archytas marmoratus (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): H. Gross, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Source: IPM Images

Archytas marmoratus (parasitoid) (Townsend, 1915)

This tachinid fly is found in the Americas and is a solitary larval-pupal endoparasitoid of Lepidoptera caterpillars from the family Noctuidae. For example, Spodoptera or Helicoverpa species are common hosts. Mass-rearing procedures have been developed (Gross, 1994) and inundative releases against pest caterpillars like Helicoverpa zea and Spodoptera frugiperda have given promising results (e.g. see Proshold et al., 1998).

Female parasitoids deposit eggs on plants where caterpillars are feeding. These hatch quickly to planidia, attach themselves to the cuticle of a passing host and start feeding. The attachment process is repeated when the host moults. After the pupal moult of the host, the fly larva enters the hemocoel. If several parasitoid larvae have attached themselves to the same host caterpillar, only one of them will eventually survive and develop to the adult stage (Reitz, 1995).