Infected Or Parasitized Monarch Chrysalises



I could tell we were going to have problems with the Monarch Butterfly Chrysalises in the Butterfly Enclosure several days ago.  All of the Chrysalises were a yellow brown color and didn’t look too healthy.

Infected Or Parasitized Monarch Chrysalises

Infected Or Parasitized Monarch Chrysalises

Whether these were infected or parasitized Chrysalises, I’m not sure, maybe a combination of both.  You can see the Chrysalises all have small holes in them, normally indicating they have been parasitized.

Here’s where I could use some guidance.  Although the Chrysalises were in our outdoor Butterfly Enclosure, and were theoretically protected from predators, there was a wasp in the enclosure nearly every day.

Mystery Wasp In Butterfly Enclosure

Mystery Wasp In Butterfly Enclosure

The strange part was we would release this wasp every time we found it in the enclosure, then the next day another wasp (or the same) would be back in the enclosure.

Can anyone identify this wasp and tell me if this wasp would parasitize the Chrysalises?

UPDATE: Valerie over at Evanson Art And Design was kind enough to tell me the wasp above is likely a Ichneumon Wasp which do indeed parasitize Butterfly Chrysalises.

Valerie Evanson - My condolences . . . we had our first wasp victim (that I documented) last year. Got out my bug book and it appears to be an ichneumon wasp. And when Joel (my hubby) was in the first grade, he says he did a report on them and still remembers it. These parasitoids inject their eggs into a caterpillar (any species), which then emerge from the pupa, killing the pupa.May 8, 2011 – 1:28 pm

texdr - Thanks Valerie. I had a feeling you might know what it was. I’m not surprised about this wasp. The fact that we would find it in the enclosure almost every day even after releasing it, suggests it was finding a way in the enclosure for some reason. Now I guess I know why. Time to build a better outdoor enclosure or bring the Chrysalises inside (although I don’t have any Monarchs right now).

Thanks for the info!May 8, 2011 – 3:54 pm

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