Cotesia Hyperparasitoid
(Common Name)
(General Category)
Hymenoptera: Pteromailidae
(Taxonomic Classification)
Hypopteromalus tabacum
(Scientific Name)

Hypopteromalus adult with rollover ID charactersBlank

Description: Hyperparasitoids are parasites of parasites. That is, they specialize in parasitizing insects that themselves are parasitic on other insects. Hypopteromalus tabacum is a native hyperparasitoid that attacks Cotesia congregata cocoons after they have emerged from hornworm caterpillars. These wasps will parasitize Cotesia pupae inside cocoons, after the Cotesia have finished feeding inside their hornworm hosts. Because of this, they are usually considered detrimental to biological control. In commercial parasitoid rearing operations, hyperparasitoids are carefully removed before large-scale rearing operations are begun. Quarantine facilities are used to screen out hyperparasitoids when a promising new parasitoid is imported for use in an importation biological control program.

Identification:  Rollover pictures with mouse for tips on how to identify these predators. Adults: These wasps are shorter and stockier, and have shorter legs and antennae than Cotesia wasps. They also have metallic or iridescent coloration. Larvae: Because the grub-like larvae parasitize Cotesia wasp larvae inside cocoons, they would not be seen unless carefully dissected out. Cotesia wasps usually chew holes in the cocoon tips to emerge after they have completed their development. Hypopteromalus will chew emergence holes on the sides of cocoons.

Value in Pest Management:  Because Hypopteromalus wasps parasitize beneficial parasitoid wasps, they are considered detrimental to pest management.

Origin and Distribution:  Native in southern and southwestern U. S. (

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