“Parasitoid Wasps” It’s Like The Alien Movies, But Real!
Parasitoid wasps are a large group of hymenopteran superfamilies, with all but the wood wasps (Orussoidea) being in the wasp-waisted Apocrita. As parasitoids, they lay their eggs on or in the bodies of other arthropods, sooner or later causing the death of these hosts. Different species specialise in hosts from different insect orders, most often Lepidoptera, though some select beetles, flies, or bugs; the spider wasps (Pompilidae) exclusively attack spiders.
Becoming a butterfly is a dangerous game, and it’s easy for caterpillars to fall victim to some very unsavoury characters along the way. As well as facing threats from hungry birds and insects, caterpillars can be devoured by parasitoids, chewed from the inside out.