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Butterfly Enemies

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Butterfly Parasites, Parasitoids,
& Other Enemies

Chrysalis and Pupation

No wonder only two out of every one hundred eggs laid in the wild become adult butterflies!

A critter that grows in or feeds upon a different critter and contributes nothing to the life or survival of its host.
Unidentified mites on a White Peacock caterpillar.

A parasitoid is a critter whose larvae are parasites which eventually kill the host.
Chalcid Wasps
Trichogramma Wasps
Tachinid Fly

A critter that preys on another critter.
A Paper Wasp eats a Monarch chrysalis.
Caterpillar Predators photos.

Rearing butterflies indoors can bring that 2% rate much higher because we can protect our eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises, and adults from all three of these nasty things.

Of course, we must admit, there are some parasites, parasitoids, and predators which we applaud when they are eating something other than our critters! A praying mantis eating a spider brings a grin to our faces. A bird eating that caterpillar on our vegetables, or a parasitoid wasp laying eggs which hatch and devour the innerds of those tomato hornworms; we consider these to be our friends. We love butterflies ... they do too, only in a much different way.

Disease is another butterfly enemy. In nature butterflies and moth face many diseases; some fatal some just an aggravation.
Ophryocystis elektroskirrha is a disease which affects Monarchs, Queens, and other butterflies in the Danaus family. In some areas of the southern US, OE is found in 85% of wild Monarchs. It can be a fatal disease. It can be simply an aggravation. In a rearing operation, it is extremly simple to remove it within two generations.
Disease in lepidoptera Where does disease come from? What can you do about it?