Cotesia ruficrus

Cotesia ruficrus (Haliday)

(Sometimes known as Apanteles ruficrus (Haliday))

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

Distribution: Apparently cosmopolitan.

Morphology: Cotesia ruficrus is about 2.0-2.5mm in length, body mostly black except anterior abdominal segments that are dark-yellow, as are the legs.

Life history: Cotesia ruficrus is a gregarious larval endoparasitoid of the larvae of certain Noctuidae that damage various crops. A female produces about 250 eggs during a lifespan of approximately two weeks, injecting these eggs into the host larvae (caterpillars) in batches of about thirty. The hatched larvae feed on the body fluids of the host. Parasitoids that attacked fourth-instar host larvae have the shortest development duration and highest fecundity. The emerging larvae pupae outside the host’s body, in whitish groups.

Economic importance: Cotesia ruficrus has been used for the biocontrol of various noctuid pests, including Mythimna loreyi. Such parasitism can substantially reduce (by up to 70%) the pest’s food consumption - and thus its economic damage. This endoparasitoid also attacks Spodoptera exigua in Turkey.


Chen, Y., Liu, X.-G., Wang, J., Zhao, J., Lu, Z.-X. and Liu, Y.H. 2016. Cotesia ruficrus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) parasitizing Cnaphalocrocis medinalis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae): developmental interactions and food utilization efficiency of hosts. Journal of Economic Entomology 109: 588-593.

Hill, M. G. 1986. Effects of Cotesia ruficrus (Braconidae : Hymenoptera) parasitism and rearing density on Mythimna separata (Noctuidae : Lepidoptera) food consumption, and implications for biological control. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 29: 281-287.

Papp, J. 2011-2012. A contribution to the Braconid fauna of Israel (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), 3. Israel Journal of Entomology 41-42: 165-219.

Sertkaya, E. and Bayram, A. 2005. Parasitoid community of the loreyi leaf worm Mythimna (Acantholeucania) loreyi: Novel host-parasitoid associations and their efficiency in the eastern Mediterranean region of Turkey. Phytoparasitica 33: 441.

Sertkaya, E., Bayram, A. and Kornosor, S. 2004. Egg and larval parasitoids of the beet armyworm Spodoptera exigua on maize in Turkey. Phytoparasitica 32: 305-312.