Parasitoids are organisms (usually insects) which spend part of their life attached to a host insect, and eventually kill that host. Unlike parasites, which live off a host, but coexist with it, parasitoids consume their host, usually before it can reproduce. Most parasitoids are insects, and most of their host species are insects.
Parasitoids haven't caught the attention of many amateur insect enthusiasts - they're generally small, not brilliantly colored, and they often prey on brightly colored 'prettier' insects like butterflies. But they're a very important part of all ecosystems - they play a major role in reducing the numbers of herbivorous insects. Without them, plants would have much more insect damage. Parasitoids are also used in agriculture, as biological controls for crop pests.
Everyone who raises insects has had the disappointing experience of a wasp or a fly hatching from a butterfly or moth pupa. But this is also an opportunity - to observe how these creatures live. Little is known about the lives of many parasitoids, so any observations, documentation of their life cycles, or records of host species adds to our knowledge of them.
This page has links to parasitoids that our contributors have found. (If the link is a life cycle, it will also be found on the appropriate life cycle page.) I hope that by having information about these creatures here, in one list, I can encourage people to record more of their life cycles.
If you're interested in sharing your knowledge about any of these parasitoids, please let me know. We've done our best at getting them identified. I've listed the unidentified ones at the beginning of the list. It would be especially helpful to get those identified. But any information, ID advice, or observations of other parasitoids would be welcome.
parasitic Apocrita from Goldenrod gall
COLEOPTERA - Beetles
Family Mordellidae - Tumbling Flower Beetles
HYMENOPTERA - Ants, Bees & Wasps
Family Braconidae - Braconid Wasps
Aleiodes sp. - Mummy-wasp
Chorebus - Winterberry leafminer parsitoid
Colastes - Braconid Wasp parasitoid
Cotesia - Braconid Wasp
Dinocampus coccinellae - Braconid Wasp
Macrocentrus sp. - Braconid Wasp
Microgastrinae - Wasps
Urosigalphus sp. - Braconid Wasp
Family Chalcididae - Chalcid Wasps
Chalcididae - yellow chalcid wasp
Conura amoena - Chalcid wasp
Family Encyrtidae - Encyrtids
Family Ichneumonidae - Ichneumon Wasps
Ctenopelmatinae - Ichneumon Wasp
Exenterus - Ichneumon Wasp
Gambrus nuncius - Ichneumon Wasp
Hercus fontinalis - Parasitic Wasp
Hyposoter - Ichneumon Wasp
Phyotdietus sp. - Parasitic Wasp
Phytodietus sp. - Parasitic Wasp
Telenomus - Parasitic Apocrita
Family Pteromalidae - Pteromalids
LEPIDOPTERA - Butterflies & Moths
Family Epipyropidae - Planthopper Parasites
Fulgoraecia exigua - Planthopper Parasite Moth
DIPTERA - Flies
Family Anthomylidae - Root-Maggot Flies
Chirosia sp. - Root-maggot Fly parasitoid
Trichopoda pennipes - Tachinid Fly