Food Webs of Insects and Their Kin

Biological Controls and Other Ecological Relationships of Economically Important Terrestrial Arthropods

EXPLORE 2600 species, families, and orders of insects etc.

DISCOVER taxonomy, nomenclature, qualitative environmental empact, foods/prey/hosts, and biological controls: pathogens, nematodes, arthropod parasites and predators, vertebrate predators, and organisms for sale (cross-referenced with suppliers).

ENRICH agriculture, ecology, and entomology.


© 1992 – 1998 Douglas Drenkow. All Rights Reserved.


“There can be no doubt ... that farm computerization will have as much impact as did farm mechanization decades ago.”
— Annual Review of Entomology, 1984

Arguably, the four most complex subjects in the world are seismology, meteorology, psychology, and entomology: It is not surprising that computers should be extensively employed in each of these studies. This work attempts to shed some light on the myriad ecological interrelationships of some representative insects and other invertebrates commonly of concern to North American entomologists. Not only does this study stimulate basic scientific interest; but it also forms the basis for the biological control of agricultural, structural, and medical insect pests.

Dealing with the most diverse group of life on Earth, this database necessarily omits far more than it includes (including such data as acanthocephalans as parasitic worms/medical threats and insectivorous plants as “predators” of insects). In particular, the reader is encouraged to investigate such good works as those listed as my Major References, especially for more quantitative data and considered theory than exists in this “laundry list” database. In doing so, one will also note that at least some of the data is considered suspect (even if it is not marked with a “?” in this database): In addition to filling the gaps in the data, even existing data should be independently confirmed and re-confirmed before it is given the weight of scientific fact.

As explained more fully in the database, no attempt has been made to provide comprehensive data for hyperparasites (and “hyperpredators” and “hyper-pathogens”, if you will, as well as hyper-hyperparasites, etc.): Once again, the reader is encouraged to investigate other references and conduct independent studies — under quarantined and otherwise strictly regulated conditions — to “expand the webs” and ascertain the complete impact on and by the environment for a given species in a given ecosystem.

See “Expanding ‘Food Webs of Insects and their Kin’” for adding your own data to this data base: These instructions are included not only as text on disk, accessible with this “webs” program, but also as hardcopy, for reference while modifying files on disk (Remember to make working copies of the disks first!). Incidentally, a hardcopy of any screenful of information can be generated with a standard printer by simply pressing SHIFT-PRTSC (typical for DOS software).

Please note that the numbering system employed (a 2-digit order number followed by a 2-digit family number and a 3-digit genus/species number, as indicated by “XX.XX.XXX” below) is much like your telephone number: Do not attach too much significance to it — the numbering system evolved as the project developed. Although the order numbers are in a rather generally accepted taxonomic order, the family numbers are rather randomly assigned within each order; and the genus/species numbers are very randomly assigned (as with numerous “gaps”) within each family. Just use them as they come (Prompts will instruct you if you have entered an invalid number or if, as in the case of a family with species entries but no general entry, there is “no data.”).

In researching this database, remember to consult higher taxonomic groupings (ex. 57.00.000 and 57.32.000 for 57.32.003) for possible foods/predators/threats/etc. However, be aware that an order or family entry is often more of a “catchall” than a comprehensive summary.

Because of the sheer volume of material (and my limited resources), the bulk of this database has been automatically compiled: The reader must assume some “editorial” responsibility, as by consulting taxonomic lists and alphabetical lists to account for the inevitable misspellings and redundancies (and please never hold any of my references responsible for my obvious to subtle errors!).

Finally, it is worth remembering that not all controls over insect populations consist of pathogen/parasite/predator “teams”, attacking various life stages of their hosts/prey: Such natural factors as weather as well as such artificial factors as cultural and chemical controls and pollution are, of course, very significant. However, most pest outbreaks result from disruptions in the populations of such general predators as spiders, ground beetles, or birds: By protecting such species and by introducing into ecosystems carefully selected, typically highly selective pathogens and parasites — co-evolved and co-evolving with often chemically resistant pest populations — agriculture and the rest of our society can be not only safer but also more efficient in the long-run.

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Major References

Borror, Donald J., Dwight M. DeLong, and Charles A. Triplehorn, An Introduction to the Study of Insects, Fourth and Fifth Editions, Saunders College Publishing, San Francisco, CA, 1976 and 1981.

Borror, Donald J., and Richard E. White, A Field Guide to the Insects of America North of Mexico, The Peterson Field Guide Series, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA, 1970.

Burges, H. D., Editor, Microbial Control of Pests and Plant Diseases 1970 – 1980, Academic Press, San Francisco, CA, 1981.

Burges, H. D., and N. W. Hussey, Editors, Microbial Control of Insects and Mites, Academic Press, New York, NY, 1971.

Cantwell, George E., Editor, Insect Diseases, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, NY, 1974.

Ignoffo, Carlo M., “Living Microbial Insecticides,” in Essays in Applied Microbiology, J. R. Norris and M. H. Richmond, Editors, John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY, 1981.

Little, V. A., General and Applied Entomology, Third Edition, Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc., San Francisco, CA, 1972.

Lynch, J. M., and J. E. Hobbie, Editors, Micro-Organisms in Action: Concepts and Applications in Microbial Ecology, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Palo Alto, CA, 1988.

Maggenti, Armand R., Introduction to Nematology (lecture notes), University of California, Davis, CA, 1977.

Poinar, George O., Jr., Nematodes for Biological Control of Insects, CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, FL, 1979.

Stefferud, Alfred, Editor, Insects: The Yearbook of Agriculture 1952, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC, 1952.

Stoetzel, Manya B., Chairman, Committee on Common Names of Insects, Common Names of Insects & Related Organisms 1989, Entomological Society of America, Lanham, MD, 1989.

Swan, Lester A., Beneficial Insects, Harper and Row, Publishers, New York, NY, 1964.

Swan, Lester A., and Charles S. Papp, The Common Insects of North America, Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc., San Francisco, CA, 1972.

Thompson, W. R., and F. J. Simmonds, Directors of Preparation, A Catalogue of the Parasites and Predators of Insect Pests, Imperial [later Commonwealth] Agricultural Bureaux, Belleville, Ontario, Canada, 1943 – 1964. (The reader is encouraged to research supplementary volumes of this enormous reference published from 1971 as A Catalogue of Parasites and Predators of Terrestrial Arthropods, prepared by B. Herting, under the general direction of F. J. Simmonds.)

Yepsen, Roger B., Jr., Editor, Organic Plant Protection, Rodale Press, Inc., Emmaus, PA, 1976.

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Sample Entry: The European Corn Borer

Note: ID numbers are computerized cross-references (precursors of modern-day hyperlinks).

57.41.001 Ostrinia [Pyrausta] nubilalis (Hubner) [the European corn borer]


Chewing on the Shoots of Plants (more than 200 species)
Chewing on the Shoots of Plants (Young larva feeds on leaves/tassel/earstalk.)
Chewing on the Shoots of Plants (Consuming growing tip causes “dead heart.”)
Chewing on the Shoots of Plants (Tassels/stems break over, esp. before ears form)
Tunneling within Pithy Stems (including Tubers) or Roots (by older larvae)
Tunneling within Pithy Stems (including Tubers) or Roots (stalks/ears)
Tunneling within Pithy Stems (including Tubers) or Roots (Holes exude sawdust.)
Burrowing within Fruit and/or Seeds (Older larvae may bore into kernels.)


corn (mostly, especially very early or late)


vegetables (in general)
sweet corn


flower/foliage plants (in general)


weeds (in general)
grasses (in general, often reservoirs of infestations)


Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus
Virus? (unspecified)


Bacillus thuringiensis alesti (spores + endotoxin)
Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (spores + endotoxin)
Bacillus thuringiensis thuringiensis (spores + endotoxin)
Bacillus thuringiensis varieties (spores + endotoxin) ?
Serratia marcescens (red strain)
unspecified bacterium


Beauveria bassiana
Cephalosporium sp.
Metarrhizium anisopliae
Nomuraea rileyi


Nosema [Glugea] pyraustae
Perezia pyraustae
Vairimorpha necatrix


Mesiodiplogaster lheritieri
Neoaplectana carpocapsae Weiser
Neoaplectana glaseri
unspecified nematode


(Many parasites were introduced by the U.S. government from 1921 to 1949.)
Agrypon sp. [an ichneumon] 61.25.027
Amblyteles brevicinctor Say [an ichneumon] 61.25.029
Amblyteles rubicundus Cress. [an ichneumon] 61.25.029
Angitia armillata Grav. [an ichneumon] 61.25.034
Angitia punctoria Roman [an ichneumon] 61.25.034
Angitia pyraustae Uchida [an ichneumon] 61.25.034
Apanteles picipes Bche. [a braconid] 61.08.035
Apanteles ruficrus Hal. [a braconid] 61.08.035
Apanteles sp. [a braconid] 61.08.035
Apanteles thompsoni Lyle [a braconid] 61.08.008
Aplomya caesar Aldr. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.026
Bassus agilis Cress. [a braconid] 61.08.043
Brachymeria euploeae Westw. [a chalcidid] 61.10.005
Bracon atricornis Smith [a braconid] 61.08.047
Campoplex ensator Grav. [an ichneumon] 61.25.053
Campoplex lugubrinus Hlgr. [an ichneumon] 61.25.053
Campoplex multicinctus Grav. [an ichneumon] 61.25.053
Campoplex pyraustae Smith [an ichneumon] 61.25.053
Campoplex rothi Hlgr. [an ichneumon] 61.25.053
Campoplex sp. [an ichneumon] 61.25.053
Ceratomefilla fuscilabris [a lady beetle] 58.14.020
Ceromasia interrupta Macq. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.049
Ceromasia juvenilis Girschn. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.049
Ceromasia lepida Mg. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.049
Ceromasia senilis Mg. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.049
Charops decipiens Grav. [an ichneumon] 61.25.055
Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus (De Geer) [Pennsylvania leatherwing] 58.09.001
Chelonus annulipes Wesm. [the annulated chelonus (braconid)] 61.08.022
Chelonus commuinis Baker [a braconid] 61.08.057
Chelonus inanitus L. [a braconid] 61.08.057
Chelonus sp. [a braconid] 61.08.057
Chrysopidae [green lacewings] 54.03.000
Clemelis pullata Mg. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.056
Coccinellidae [lady beetles] 58.14.000
Colpognathus celerator Grav. [an ichneumon] 61.25.062
Compsilura concinnata Mg. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.002
Crachymeria sp. [a chalcidid] 61.10.007
Cremastus flavoorbitalis Cam. [an ichneumon] 61.25.065
Cremastus hierochonticus Schmied. [an ichneumon] 61.25.065
Cremastus sp. [an ichneumon] 61.25.065
Cryptus sp. [an ichneumon] 61.25.068
Dibrachys cavus Walk. [a pteromalid] 61.35.007
Eugnomus pyraustae Mats. [an ichneumon] 61.25.090
Eulimneria albida Gmel. [an ichneumon] 61.25.091
Eulimneria alkae E. & S. [an ichneumon] 61.25.091
Eulimneria fuscicarpus Thoms. [an ichneumon] 61.25.091
Eulimneria geniculata Grav. [an ichneumon] 61.25.091
Eulimneria pleuralis Thoms. [an ichneumon] 61.25.091
Eulimneria rufifemur Thoms. [an ichneumon] 61.25.091
Eulimneria sp. [an ichneumon] 61.25.091
Eulimneria xanthostoma Grav. [an ichneumon] 61.25.091
Eulophus sp. [a eulophid] 61.19.056
Eulophus viridulus Thoms. [a eulophid] 61.19.005
Exetastes illusor Grav. [an ichneumon] 61.25.095
Exorista civilis Rond. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.090
Exorista noctuarum Rond. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.090
Formicidae [ants] 61.23.000
Glyptomorpha inscriptor corsica Marsh. [a braconid] 61.08.081
Hemiptarsenus unguicellus Zett. [a eulophid] 61.19.062
Hippodamia convergens (Guerin-Meneville) [convergent lady beetle] 58.14.001
Hippodamia tredecimpunctata L. [a lady beetle] 58.14.043
Holocremnus sp. [an ichneumon] 61.25.109
Hoplocryptus incertulus Cush. [an ichneumon] 61.25.112
Horogenes punctorius [an ichneumon] 61.25.007
Hygrocryptus carnifex Grav. [an ichneumon] 61.25.113
Labrorychus prismaticus Nort. [an ichneumon] 61.25.127
Labrorychus tenuicornis Grav. [an ichneumon] 61.25.127
Lixophaga variabilis Coq. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.117
Lydella grisescens R.-D. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.118
Lydella thompsoni [a tachinid fly] 59.36.118
Lydella [Ceromasia/Microceromasia] stabulans grisescens [a tachinid] 59.36.010
Macrocentrus abdominalis F. [a braconid] 61.08.093
Macrocentrus gifuensis Ashm. [a braconid] 61.08.093
Macrocentrus grandii Goidanich [a braconid] 61.08.016
Macrocentrus robustus Mues. [a braconid] 61.08.093
Macrocentrus sp. [a braconid] 61.08.093
Megaselia goidanichi Schmitz [a humpbacked fly] 59.48.004
Meteorus deceptor Wesm. [a braconid] 61.08.094
Meteorus loxostegei Vier. [a braconid] 61.08.094
Meteorus nigricollis Thomson [a braconid] 61.08.018
Microbracon brevicornis Wesm. [a braconid] 61.08.099
Microbracon caulicola Gahan [a braconid] 61.08.099
Microbracon gelechiae Ashm. [a braconid] 61.08.099
Microbracon hebetor Say [a braconid] 61.08.099
Microbracon mellitor Say [a braconid] 61.08.024
Microbracon sp. [a braconid] 61.08.099
Microcryptus abdominator Grav. [an ichneumon] 61.25.151
Microgaster sp. [a braconid] 61.08.101
Microgaster tibialis Nees [a braconid] 61.08.004
Microgaster zonaria Say [a braconid] 61.08.101
Mormoniella vitripennis Walk. [a pteromalid] 61.35.067
Nemorilla floralis Fall. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.138
Nemorilla floralis maculosa Mg. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.138
Nemorilla maculosa Mg. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.138
Phaeogenes eguchii Uch. [an ichneumon] 61.25.171
Phaeogenes nigridens Wesm. [an ichneumon] 61.25.171
Phaeogenes planifrons Wesm. [an ichneumon] 61.25.171
Phaeogenes sp. [an ichneumon] 61.25.171
Phorocera erecta Coq. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.157
Phytodietus segmentator Grav. [an ichneumon] 61.25.174
Pimpla aequalis Prov. [an ichneumon] 61.25.175
Pimpla conquisitor Say [an ichneumon] 61.25.003
Pimpla indagatrix Cress. [an ichneumon] 61.25.175
Pimpla pterophori Ashm. [an ichneumon] 61.25.175
Pimpla pyraustae Matas. [an ichneumon] 61.25.175
Pimpla roborator F. [an ichneumon] 61.25.175
Pimpla tecumseh Vier. [an ichneumon] 61.25.175
Pristomerus vulnerator Panz. [an ichneumon] 61.25.184
Pseudoperichaeta insidiosa R.D. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.165
Pyraustomyia penitalis Coq. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.168
Rogas testaceus Spin. [a braconid] 61.08.126
Sagaritis provancheri D.T. [an ichneumon] 61.25.192
Sympiesis viridula [a eulophid (chalcid)] 61.19.012
Tachinidae [tachinid flies] 59.36.000
Tetranychidae [spider mites] 12.25.000
Theronia atalantae Poda [an ichneumon] 61.25.016
Triaspis pallidipes Nees [a braconid] 61.08.133
Trichogramma evanescens Westw. [a trichogrammatid] 61.44.002
Trichogramma minutum Riley [a trichogrammatid] 61.44.001
Trichogramma sp. [a trichogrammatid] 61.44.012
Trichogrammatidae [trichogrammatids (chalcids)] 61.44.000
Trichomma cnaphalocrocis Uch. [an ichneumon] 61.25.210
Winthemia quadripustulata (Fabricius) [the redtailed tachinid] 59.36.001
Xanthopimpla modesta Smith [an ichneumon] 61.25.216
Xanthopimpla punctata F. [an ichneumon] 61.25.216
Xanthopimpla stemmator Thnbg. [an ichneumon] 61.25.216
Zenillia futilis O.S. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.205
Zenillia mitis Mg. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.205
Zenillia ochracea Wulp [a tachinid fly] 59.36.205
Zenillia sp. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.205
Zenillia tritaeniata Rond. [a tachinid fly] 59.36.205


(Birds prey on overwintering larvae.)
downy woodpecker
redwinged blackbird


bats (Recordings of hunting bats are reportedly repellent to the adult moths.)
cattle (feeding on cornstalks in the fall or early spring)

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