This morning I found a well camouflaged caterpillar covered with what I presume are parasitic wasp eggs. Is it possible for an amateur like me to raise them to adulthood to see what they are? Or should I just dump them all in ethanol?
Not an expert … if you could keep the caterpillar in an enclosure with soil, water, and appropriate plant material, it could work!
Might it actually be parasitic wasp pupae that you are seeing, as in braconids? If so you can just place the larva in a closed container and the wasps will emerge in the near future. I’ve done this in the past.
Some caterpillars also camouflage themselves with bits of flower petals or other debris.
If these are pupae, then the caterpillar is likely dead – the parasitoids keep it alive long enough to pupate, but it dies shortly afterward. Be sure to provide adequate ventilation so that the caterpillar does not rot; this would kill the wasp pupae.
To answer your question in the topic title: yes
You can’t find wasp eggs on the caterpillar, so, as previously said, likely those are braconid cocoons.
Thanks. You are correct. They are actually pupae. I will give raising them a shot.
The caterpillar or whatever it is, is still alive.
to ethanol with this
Why would you kill them? They’re easily rearable.
yes, it is possible; but a specimen dissected in ethanol would be an interesting exhibit
Yeah, but id is more likely on adult, so better to wait until they grow to it.)