I noticed this bug I hadn't seen before lurking about several
chrysalides, so I grabbed a photo and watched it. It seemed particularly
interested in one chrysalis that all ready had a hole in it, so I took a
closer look. I saw and eye, and a leg through the hole. As fast as I
could, I pinched off the chrysalis, taped the bit of twig it was on to a
handy longer twig, dropped it over a cup, and threw a layer of plastic
wrap over it, just in time to watch another one just like it come
creeping out the hole.
John , thank you very much for giving me an ID
on this wasp! I really appreciate it!
Here's his ID: "This is indeed a parasitic species of chalcid
wasp. There are a number of species that prey on Lepidoptera. Another
danger in the world of butterflies!"
It might sound cruel, but I'm extremely fond of my butterflies, so there
was just no way this creepy critter was going back outside to kill more
of them; I left it in the cup to expire. Once it did, I spent all of a
weekend afternoon experiencing extreme frustration with my digital
camera and a Swiss army knife 10x magnifying glass getting these next
photos of it:
I stuck these in so you can get an idea of just how small it is. Of
course, the hole it crawled through in the chrysalis helps with that too.
I saw another live one today (23 Sept 07). It buzzed past a
cassia that I use as a trellis for a
Passiflora suberosa. Both are
host plants. It was really fast, so I could neither follow it, nor photograph it.
I emailed John, the butterfly expert, to see if he could give me a name
for this 'I think it's a wasp'. Thanks again for answering John!
His answer is at the top of this page. If there are any highly motivated
folks out there, I found a key for these bugs
If you figure out which one it is before I do, I'll credit you with the
ID on this page too.
Here is what at first, I thought was a tachinid
fly, but after looking at it close up, I think it's
very tiny wasp.