Saturday, 16 May 2015

Lime Hawk moth parasite

Last summer i found a couple of Lime hawk larvae crawling down a tree to pupate, so collected them and overwintered the two pupae. While checking them today i thought one had died as it felt too stiff, so i broke it open and was surprised to find this huge soft-bodied parasite larva inside! Never seen anything like it, and wondered if anyone else had any ideas on it's identity? i don't know if it will survive now i've exposed it, unfortunately. Dave Maunder

Lime Hawk parasite, 16-5-2015


  1. I'll be interested in what others say - if that's a larvae the adult parasite would be huge too. I'm wondering if this is a case where the metamorphosis has not gone right and you are seeing some kind of intermediate aberrant state?

  2. I've had large parasitic ichneumonid wasps out of Small Elephant HM pupae that are the same size as the pupae (slightly longer but similar size as Lime Hawk pupae). Fly grubs often look a bit grotesque so I imagine its probably one of them.

  3. This is unlikely to be a Dipteran. I only know of one species - Tachina grossa - that could be large enough and it's hosts are Lasiocampidae such as Oak Eggar and Fox Moth. It's almost certainly an aculeate Hymenopteran parasitoid larva. There are large species which specialise in Sphingidae. This reminded me of when I was about 12 years old and opened a box to check on an Elephant Hawk-moth pupa (which seemed to be taking it's time) to suddenly find that one of these was buzzing around inside. It frightened the life out of me ! Mark - the problem your one now has is dessication, but if you keep it in an airtight plastic box in some damp tissue it might come out.

  4. I meant hymenoptera not fly as denoted by ichneumonid wasp in first line.


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