Cotesia, Braconidae, Insect, Hymenopterans, Pieris
Cotesia glomerata emerging from pieris brassicae
Cotesia glomerata, the white butterfly parasite, is a small parasitic wasp species belonging to family Braconidae.
The adults of Cotesia glomerata can reach a length of 3–7 millimetres (0.12–0.28 in). This small braconid wasp is black, with two pairs of wings. It can parasitize a wide range of Pieris butterfly species as host, but Pieris brassicae and Pieris rapae are the main hosts. The adults feed on nectar.
After hatching from the pupae, females mate almost immediately and begin laying eggs. The eggs are laid in the larvae of caterpillars, where the C. glomerata larvae develop; multiple eggs numbering between 16-52 are deposited in each caterpillar. After 15 to 20 days the larvae emerge, killing the parasitised caterpillar. These newly emerged larvae spin cocoons in a cluster on or nearby the host caterpillar; after 7 to 10 days the imago adult wasps hatch from these cocoons. Overall it takes between 22 and 30 days for an egg to develop to full adulthood.
This species is present in most of Europe, in the Afrotropic ecozone, the Australasian ecozone, the Nearctic ecozone and the Neotropical ecozone.