terminal mummy wasp

(Aleiodes terminalis)

Conservation Status
terminal mummy wasp
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Terminal mummy wasp is a small, slender, parasitic wasp. It occurs in the eastern United States from Maine and Virginia in the east to North Dakota, Colorado, and and Oklahoma in the west. It is very common in the east, and may be the most common mummy wasp (genus Aleiodes) in eastern North America.

Adults are orange and black, slender, and 3 16 to 5 16 (5 to 8 mm) long.

The head is black. There are two large compound eyes at the side of the head and three small simple eyes (ocelli) in a triangle on the top of the head. The distance between each lateral ocellus and the nearest compound eye is about equal to the width of the ocellus. The long, thread-like, antennae have 55 to 62 segments. They are brown in the middle, black at the tip.

The front part of the body (mesosoma) is entirely black. The pronotum is more or less triangular in profile, and extends nearly to the bases of the wings. The first abdominal segment is fused to the thorax and gives the thorax the appearance of having four segments. The small plates covering each wing base (tegula) is yellow.

The remaining segments of the abdomen (metasoma) has four segments. The first two segments of the metasoma are orange, the last two black. The third segment is sometimes partially orange. The first segment is narrower at the base than at the tip, and has a longitudinal ridge in the middle. The first three segments are sculptured. On the female, the ovipositor is short, rises in front of the tip of the abdomen, and cannot be withdrawn.

The wings are clear but lightly tinted brown. The thickened leading edge (costal area) of the forewing does not have a cell. In the lower part of the forewing there is only a single recurrent (backward-turning) vein, not two veins forming a cell, as in the ichneumonid wasps. The first cubital cross-vein (1cu-a) crosses after the first medius vein (1M) by more than twice its length. On the hind wing, vein RS is straight, and the m-cu vein is a short stub.

The legs are orange and black. The second part of the leg (trochanter) has two segments. On the hind leg, the fourth segment (tibia) is black with a broad, yellowish-white band near the base. The end part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has five segments. The terminal segment has a pair of claws at the tip. The claws are not toothed. On the hind leg, all segments of the tarsus are black.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: 3 16 to 5 16 (5 to 8 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Fields

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Four to six generations per year: late May to late September

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults are active at night and are attracted to lights.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

The female inserts an egg into the caterpillar of an owlet moth. The larva consumes the living caterpillar, eventually killing it. It completes its development and pupates within the mummified remains of the caterpillar. The appearance of the mummified host is an important feature in identifying the wasp inside. Adults are short-lived. Females live about 32 days, males about 16 days. There are four to six generations per year.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Caterpillars of Noctuidae (owlet moths)

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 27, 29, 30.

 
  4/13/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)  
 

Suborder

Apocrita (narrow-waisted wasps, ants, and bees)  
 

Superfamily

Ichneumonoidea (braconids and ichneumons)  
 

Family

Braconidae (braconid wasps)  
 

Subfamily

Rogadinae (mummy wasps)  
 

Genus

Aleiodes (common mummy wasps)  
       
 

Several wasps formerly classified in the genus Rogas are not recognized as belonging to the genus Aleiodes. Terminal mummy wasp was formerly classified as Rogas terminalis.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Rogas terminalis

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

terminal mummy wasp

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Gaster

The bulbous part of the abdomen of ants, bees, and wasps. In ants it usually begins at segment three.

 

Mesosoma

In Hymenoptera: the front part of the body, consisting of all three segments of the thorax and the first segment of the abdomen, to which the wings are attached.

 

Metasoma

In Hymenoptera: the armored rear part of the body, consisting of the second segment of the abdomen and all segments posterior to it.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Ovipositor

A long needle-like tube on the abdomens of some female insects, used to inject eggs into soil or plant stems.

 

Tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

Tegula

A small, hardened, plate, scale, or flap-like structure that overlaps the base of the forewing of insects in the orders Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Diptera, and Homoptera. Plural: tegulae.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
    terminal mummy wasp      
 

 

 
 

 

 
           
           
 
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  Alfredo Colon
7/31/2018

Location: Woodbury, MN

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Created: 4/13/2019

Last Updated:

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