Chelonus inanitus

Chelonus inanitus (L.)

Systematic position: Insecta, Holometabola, Hymenoptera, Apocrita, Braconidae.

Geographical distribution: Mediterranean region.

Morphology: Body mostly black and with a yellow patch on the thorax, forewings with an anterior dark spot, legs with alternating black and yellow areas.

Hosts: Various moths, including Spodoptera exigua, Spodoptera littoralis and Ephestia kuehniella.

Life history: A solitary egg-larval parasitoid which lays its eggs into the eggs of its hosts. Developmental at 25°C requires about a month, only 25 days at 30°C. It attacks hosts infesting various commodities (cotton, various legumes). In Cyprus it parasitizes S. exigua in early summer, than moving onto S. littoralis during late summer and autumn. Chelonus inanitus is very susceptible to most insecticides.

Economic importance: An enemy of various moths which occasionally reduces pest numbers to tolerable levels. In Cyprus it is very active in keeping down the numbers of S. exigua and of S. littoralis on alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). In Israel its rates of parasitization on S. littoralis infesting cotton may reach up to 23%, but usually do not suffice to control the pest.


Gerling, D. 1971. Occurrence, abundance, and efficiency of some local parasitoids attacking Spodoptera littoralis in selected cotton fields in Israel. Annals of the Entomological Society of Ameica 64: 492–499.

Hegazy, E.M, Altahtaway, M.M., Hammad, S.M. and El-Sawaf, S.K. 1974. Notes on the biology of Chelonus inanitus (L.) (Hymen, Braconidae). Zeitschrift für Angewandte Entomologie 75: 291–294.

Ingram, W.R. 1981. The parasitoids of Spodoptera littoralis [Lep.: Noctuidae] and their role in population control in Cyprus. Entomophaga 26: 23-37.

Rechav, Y. 1974. Effects of common insecticides applied to cotton on adults of a braconid parasitoid, Chelonus inanitus (L.). Environmental Entomology 3: 737–738.

Rechav, Y. 1975. Biological and ecological studies of the parasitoid Chelonus inanitus in Israel. II. Releases of adults in acotton field. Journal of the Entomological Society of South Africa 39: 83-85.