Chelonus oculator (parasitoid)

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Chelonus oculator (parasitoid) (Fabricius, 1775)

This wasp is found in Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. It is a solitary egg-larval parasitoid of Lepidoptera. In the field, wasps parasitise mainly Noctuidae. However, under laboratory conditions other Lepidoptera hosts are also accepted. It has been studied as a biological control agent against Spodoptera larvae in greenhouses.

Female wasps lay eggs in host eggs and the first 2 larval instars of the wasp grow inside the developing host. In the 3rd instar, the wasp larva leaves the host and feeds externally, finally spinning a pupal cocoon.