Natural Enemies: Identification

Natural Enemies Listed by Scientific Name

Cover of Natural Enemies Handbook

Natural enemies are organisms that kill, decrease the reproductive potential of, or otherwise reduce the numbers of another organism. Natural enemies that limit pests are key components of integrated pest management programs. Important natural enemies of insect and mite pests include predators, parasites, and pathogens.

The UC IPM Natural Enemies Gallery includes natural enemy species commonly found on California farms and in landscapes. Additional species will be added over time.

For more information about natural enemies, purchase the Natural Enemies Handbook.

Parasites | List by common name | List by order and family name | List by pest


A predator is an organism that attacks, kills, and feeds on several to many other individuals (its prey) in its lifetime.

Scientific name Common name
Aphidoletes aphidimyza Predaceous midge or aphid midge
Anthocoris spp. Minute pirate bugs
Araneae order Spiders
Cantharidae F amily Soldier beetles
Carabidae Family Predaceous ground beetle
Chilocorus orbus Twicestabbed lady beetle
Chrysopa spp. Green lacewings
Chrysoperla spp. Green lacewings
Coccinella septempunctataSevenspotted lady beetle
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Mealybug destroyer
Geocoris spp. Bigeyed bugs
Harmonia axyridis Multicolored Asian lady beetle
Hemerobius spp. Brown lacewings
Hippodamia convergens Convergent lady beetle
Mantidae Family (Order Mantodea) Mantids, praying mantids
Galendromus occidentalis Western predatory mite

Nabis spp.

Damsel bugs
Orius spp. Minute pirate bugs
Phytoseiulus persimilis Phytoseiulus persimilis
Reduviidae Family (Order Hemiptera) Assassin bugs
Rodolia cardinalis Vedalia beetle
Rumina decollata Decollate snail
Scolothrips sexmaculatus Sixspotted thrips
Sinea diadema Spined assassin bug
Syrphidae Family (Order Diptera) Syrphid flies
Zelus renardii Leafhopper assassin bug

Insect Parasites (parasitoids)

Larval stages of insect parasites parasitize other insects, killing their hosts just as they mature. Adults are free-living wasps or flies.

Scientific name Common name
Anaphes iole, Anaphes nitens, and other Anaphes spp. Anaphes species
Aphidius spp. Aphidius species
Aphytis spp. Aphytis spp., armored scale parasites
Bracon cushmani Bracon cushmani, grape leaffolder parasite
Cotesia medicaginis Cotesia medicaginis, alfalfa butterfly parasite
Cryptochaetum iceryae Cottony cushion scale parasite
Encarsia formosa Encarsia formosa, whitefly parasite
Erynniopsis antennata Elm leaf beetle parasite
Hyposoter exigua Hyposoter exigua, caterpillar parasite
Leptomastix dactylopii Citrus mealybug parasite
Lysiphlebus testaceipes Lysiphlebus testaceipes, aphid parasite
Tachinidae Family (Order Diptera) Tachinid flies
Trioxys pallidus Trioxys pallidus, walnut aphid parasite
Trichogramma spp. Trichogramma spp., egg parasite

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