braconid wasps

(Meteorus spp.)

braconid wasp (Meteorus sp.)
Photo by Alfredo Colon

Meteorus is a cosmopolitan genus of parasitic braconid wasps. There are 356 Meteorus species worldwide, 40 species in North America north of Mexico, and at least 11 species in Minnesota.

Meteorus wasps are parasites of the larvae of beetles (Coleoptera) and of butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera). Mature larvae of most species spin a cocoon suspended by a thread. This is the feature that gives the genus its scientific name.


Meteorus wasps cannot be identified by their color pattern. A single widespread species may display a variety of color patterns across its entire range, and the pattern may be affected by environmental factors.

The rear part of the thorax has distinct longitudinal furrows.

Each segment (tergite) of the rear part of the body (metasoma) has just a single row of stiff hairs (setae) near the rear margin. The first tergite is narrow (petiolate) at the base and broad at the end, at least two and a half times wider at the end than at its narrowest point. It has a pair of holes (dorsopes) on the upper side. On the female, the ovipositor is always visible at the end of the abdomen.

There is always a ridge (occipital carina) on the back of the head, but sometimes it is incomplete.

On the forewing there are three submarginal cells. The 3RSb vein is straight, and the radial-media (r-m) cross vein is present, forming the four-sided, rhomboid or square, second submarginal cell. The first subdiscal cell is open.

On the hindwing the marginal cell is narrowed toward the end. There is no cross vein (m-cu) between the media vein (M) and the cubitus vein (cu). The radial cell is narrowed to the end or parallel sided, never broadened or divided.


Distribution Map



24, 27, 29, 30, 72, 82.



Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)  


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




Ichneumonoidea (ichneumonid and braconid wasps)  


Braconidae (braconid wasps)  





Subordinate Taxa


basket-cocoon parasitoid (Meteorus pulchricornis)

braconid wasp (Meteorus achterbergi)

braconid wasp (Meteorus acronyctae)

braconid wasp (Meteorus angustipennis)

braconid wasp (Meteorus anicus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus antipodalis)

braconid wasp (Meteorus arcticus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus argyrotaeniae)

braconid wasp (Meteorus arizonensis)

braconid wasp (Meteorus arrogator)

braconid wasp (Meteorus autographae)

braconid wasp (Meteorus bakeri)

braconid wasp (Meteorus betulini)

braconid wasp (Meteorus campestris)

braconid wasp (Meteorus cingiliae)

braconid wasp (Meteorus clinophthalmicus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus cognatus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus communis)

braconid wasp (Meteorus datanae)

braconid wasp (Meteorus depressus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus dimidiatus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus euschausiae)

braconid wasp (Meteorus fumipennis)

braconid wasp (Meteorus gloriosus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus hicoriae)

braconid wasp (Meteorus humilis)

braconid wasp (Meteorus hyphantriae)

braconid wasp (Meteorus hypophloei)

braconid wasp (Meteorus ictericus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus indagator)

braconid wasp (Meteorus islandicus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus japonicus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus josieas)

braconid wasp (Meteorus laevigatus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus laphygmae)

braconid wasp (Meteorus leviventris)

braconid wasp (Meteorus lindae)

braconid wasp (Meteorus luteus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus pinifolii)

braconid wasp (Meteorus pinquicornis)

braconid wasp (Meteorus politus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus provancheri)

braconid wasp (Meteorus proximus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus rubens)

braconid wasp (Meteorus ruficeps)

braconid wasp (Meteorus tauricornis)

braconid wasp (Meteorus terebratus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus tersus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus tetralophae)

braconid wasp (Meteorus tibialis)

braconid wasp (Meteorus townesi)

braconid wasp (Meteorus trachynotus)

braconid wasp (Meteorus trichogrammae)

braconid wasp (Meteorus versicolor)

braconid wasp (Meteorus vitticollis)

braconid wasp (Meteorus vulgaris)

pine brown-tail moth larval parasite (Meteorus trilineatus)






Common Names


This genus has no common name. The common name for the family Braconidae is braconid wasps, and it is used here for convenience.











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



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



On plants: The stalk of a leaf blade or a compound leaf that attaches it to the stem. On ants and wasps: The constricted first one or two segments of the rear part of the body.



A stiff, hair-like process on the outer surface of an organism. In Lepidoptera: A usually rigid bristle- or hair-like outgrowth used to sense touch. In mosses: The stalk supporting a spore-bearing capsule and supplying it with nutrients. Plural: setae.



The upper (dorsal), hardened plate on a segment of the thorax or abdomen of an arthropod or myriapod.






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Alfredo Colon

    braconid wasp (Meteorus sp.)      








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Location: Woodbury, MN

braconid wasp (Meteorus sp.)







Created: 2/11/2023

Last Updated:

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