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     Introduction                                                                                                                                                                    Contents


Entomology:  HYMENOPTERA 1

Kingdom:  Animalia, Phylum: Arthropoda

Subphylum: Hexapoda: Class: Insecta: Order: Hymenoptera

Selected Superfamilies, Families & Subfamilies of Hymenoptera



          Please CLICK on Superfamily for Families and on included Illustrations to enlarge

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Order:  Hymenoptera

     (92 Families)

Family Groupings

SYMPHYTA (Superfamilies)







APOCRITA (Superfamilies)


















 Sample Examinations

 References      Citations



          There are two suborders:  Symphyta (Chalastogastra) are the sawflies and Apocrita (Clistogastra) are all other groups. 


          The Symphyta have eruciform larvae and their prolegs are without crochets may occur on all abdominal segments.  The adults have the abdomen broadly joined with the thorax.  The ovipositor is adapted for piercing so that their eggs may be laid in hard wood.  There are many pestiferous species in this group.


          The Apocrita contains the largest number of species of Hymenoptera.  Their larvae are grub like without legs.  Some develop as grubs on other animals and their mother nourishes some.  The adults have a distinct petiole, and in some ant species both the second and third abdominal segments may form the petiole.  A node is usually present.


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


          The following discussion includes only the most common or important families or subfamilies of Hymenoptera. The classification continues to fluctuate in this order, and therefore, older names are included in parentheses for clarity as much of the world literature deployed them.  Additional information on <Habits>, <Adults> and <Juveniles> is included when available.  For greater detail please refer to Borror et al. (1989) and <taxnames>, and for an expanded treatment of Hymenoptera taxonomy with 92 families noted please see <92 Families>.



     SYMPHYTA:  Most Symphyta are phytophagous external feeders on foliage. The larvae of the external feeders are eruciform and differ from those of the Lepidoptera by having more than five pairs of prolegs that lack crochets and usually have only one pair of ocelli. The larvae of a few species bore in stems, fruits, wood, or leaves (leaf miners); these larvae usually have the prolegs reduced or absent. All the Symphyta have a prominent ovipositor, which is used in inserting the eggs into the tissues of the host plant. In the Tenthredinoidea the ovipositor is somewhat saw like, hence the common name "sawflies" for the members of this group.  Most of the Symphyta have a single generation a year and overwinter as a full-grown larva or as a pupa, either in a cocoon or in some sort of protected place. Most of the external feeders overwinter in a cocoon or cell in the soil, while boring species usually do so in their tunnels in the host plant. Some of the larger species spend more than a year to complete their development (Borror et al. 1989).


       Superfamily:  Cephoidea


          Cephidae.-- The Stem Sawflies are slim, laterally compressed sawflies.  The larvae bore in the stems of grasses and berries. Cephus cinctus Norton bores in the stems of wheat and is known as the wheat stem sawfly.  Adults average 8-10 mm in length, and are shining black, banded and spotted with yellow. C. cinctus is a pest of wheat in the western North America, while C. pygmaeus (L.), is problematic in eastern parts of the continent.  Janus integer (Norton) bores in the stems of currants; the adult is shining black and about 12 mm long.  There is one generation a year, and overwintering occurs in a silken cocoon inside the plant where the larva feeds.





       Superfamily:  Megalodontoidea


          Pamphiliidae. -- Web-Spinning and Leaf-Rolling Sawflies are thick-bodied and I usually less than 13 mm long. Some have gregarious larvae while others feed singly.  The gregarious species live in silk nests made by tying several leaves together, and the solitary ones live in a shelter formed from a leaf. The group is uncommon, and only a few of them are of much economic importance. Some species are pests of conifers, Neurotoma inconspicua (Norton) (a web spinning species) attacks plums, and Pamphilius persicum MacGillivray (a leaf-rolling species) damages peaches.




       Superfamily:  Orussoidea --


          Orussidae. -- <Overview>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Parasitic Wood Wasps are a small group of rare insects.  The adults resemble horntails but are much smaller (8-13 mm long). The larvae are parasitic on the larvae of metallic wood-boring beetles (Buprestidae).





       Superfamily:  Siricoidea


          Siricidae. -- Horntails are large insects, ca. 26 mm. or more long, and their larvae bore into wood.  Both males and females have a spearlike plate on the last abdominal segment.  They attack primarily coniferous trees, but hardwoods are also selected.  Their larvae do not cause as much damage to trees as do other species in Symphyta.


          Most attack conifers, but those in eastern North America also attack maple, elm, beech, and other hardwoods. The larvae are not usually numerous enought to much damage. Pupation occurs in burrows constructed by the larvae .





       Superfamily:  Tenthredinoidea


          Argidae. -- The argid sawflies are a small group with 78 North American species known.  They are  medium-sized to small, robust sawflies, that are distinguished by the characteristic antennae.  The males of a few species have the last antennal segment U-shaped or Y -shaped. Most species are black or dark in color. The larvae feed on various  trees, but Arge humeralis (Beauvois) feeds on poison ivy, Sphacophilus celluldris (Say) feeds on sweet potato, and Schizocerella pilicornis (Holmgren) mines leaves of Portulaca (Borror & DeLong, 1954).




          Cimbicidae. -- Cimbicid sawflies are large, heavy sawflies with clubbed antennae. They resemble bumblebees. The most abundant species is the elm sawfly, Cimbex americana Leach, a dark colored insect 16-26 mm long.  Females have four small yellow spots on each side of the abdomen. The full-grown larva is about 42 mm long, and a black stripe down the back. When at rest or when disturbed, it forms a spiral posture, but when disturbed, it may eject a fluid, from glands located  above the spiracles. This species has one generation a year and overwinters as a full-grown larva in a cocoon in the ground; it pupates in the spring, and adults appear in summer. The larva attacks elm and willow primarily.




          Pergidae. -- Pergid sawflies are a small group with only 15 North American species identified.  They  occur from the eastern states west to Arizona, but are uncommon.  The larvae feed on the foliage of oak and hickory. American  species belong to the genus Acordulecera.




          Tenthredinidae. -- <Overview>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The common sawflies or horntails are broad-waisted insects that lay their eggs in wood.  It is a large group of wasp like species that are frequently vibrantly colored.  They are encountered around flowers and other plant foliage.  Their size usually does not exceed 21 mm long.



          The eruciform larvae feed externally on foliage but some bore into hardwood.  They will leave their burrows to feed on tree foliage.  Most have one generation per year and they overinter in a cocoon or pupal cell that is located in some protective area or in the ground.


          Some sawflies are very destructive. The larch sawfly, Pristiphora erichsonii (Hartig), is a pest of larch and, when abundant they can cause extensive defoliation. The imported currantworm, Nematus ribesii (Scopoli) , is a serious pest of currants and Gooseberries (Borror & DeLong, 1954).


          Several species construct galls, and a few are leaf miners. The elm leafminer, Fenusa ulmi Sundeval, mines  the leaves of elm trees.



          The Cherry slug feeds on leaves leaving only a network of veins.  Their distribution is widespread in North America.  There are two generations per year, but the second generation does the most damage.  These insects are very susceptible to most insecticides.




           Diprionidae. -- The Conifer sawflies larvae attack conifers but only a few of them are of economic importance. Some are  web spinners that feed on plum trees or leaf rollers that feed on peach trees.  The females have pectinate and males have bipectinate antennae.




       Superfamily:  Xyeloidea


          Xyelidae. -- The small sawflies are less than 11 mm. long.  They differ from other sawflies in having three marginal wing cells and the third antennal segment being very long. The larvae feed on the wood and pinecones of various trees, but the damage that they cause is slight compared to other members of the Symphyta.


          There are not many species and none are of much economic importance.




     APOCRITA: -- The Apocrita differ from the Symphyta in having a constricted base of their abdomen.  The thorax appears as for segments with the propodeum being the first abdominal segment fused with the thoracic segments.  The hind wings do not have more than two basal cells. The larvae are usually grub like or maggot like and vary in feeding habits; some are parasitic or predatory on other insects, while others are phytophagous. The adults feed primarily on flowers, sap, and other plant materials; some of the parasitic species occasionally feed on the body fluids of the host in a behavior

Known as "host feeding."


          Many species in this are parasitoids in the larval stage on other insects (or other invertebrates) and, because of their abundance, are very important in the natural balance of insect populations. Most of the parasitic Apocrita lay their eggs on or in the body of the host, and many have a long ovipositor with which hosts in cocoons, burrows, or other protected situations may be reached. In some cases only a single egg is laid on a host; in others, several to many eggs may be laid on the same host. A single parasitoid attacking a host usually pupates inside the host; where there are many parasitoids in the same host, they may pupate inside it, on the outside of it, or entirely away from it. Some species are parthenogenetic. Polyembryony is found in a few species. Some of the parasitic species are hyperparasitoids (Borror et al. 1989).




       Superfamily:  Apoidea. -- <Overview>


          Andrenidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The mason bees are small to medium-sized bees that are distinguished by two subantennal sutures below each antennal socket.  There are about 1300 species known to exist in North America They nest in burrows in the ground, and their burrows are similar to those of the halictids; sometimes large numbers of these bees will nest close together in areas where there is little vegetation.




          Apidae:  Apinae: -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The honeybees always produce a wax comb with hexagonal cells. The cells serve for larval rearing sites and honey storage.  Honey is formed in the stomach from nectar through the action of enzymes.  It is regurgitated into the storage cells.



          The developing brood is fed with pollen.  The queen is responsible for the production of eggs.  She produces a "queen substance" that suppresses the development of other females in the colony.


          A marked division of labor occurs in the colony.  The drones exist solely for the purpose of mating with the queen.  There is a continuous cycle in a colony, and a division takes place when a second queen is produced.  The old queen then leads a part of the old colony away to a new site in a swarm.  Three principal stimuli to the production of new queens are, (1) when an overabundance of individuals occurs in the hive, (2) an old queen dies and (3) when there is a shortage of food.  The latter case stimulates swarming to form new colonies.


          Apiculture regularly includes artificial insemination.  The genetic configuration of a queen is 2X, a worker 2X and a drone 1X.  Drones are produced from unfertilized eggs.


          Honeybees are of great economic importance in that they are widely deployed for the pollination of both orchard and field crops (Please see Insect Pollination).  Bee venom has been used in therapy and royal jelly has been touted for rather doubtful rejuvenation properties.




               Anthophorini (previously under Anthophoridae). -- <Habits>;  <Adults> & <Juveniles>. -- Digger bees are robust and hairy and collect pollen from various plants.  They nest in the ground and line their cells with a waxy material.  Some species are parasitic on other bees.




               Bombini (Bombidae).-- Bumblebees, of Western Hemispheric origin, are easily recognized by their large robust shape and yellow and black stripes.  Some species also display orange coloration.  They are important and efficient pollinators of clover and alfalfa.  They have been introduced successfully into Europe.



          Their nests occur in the ground, and in colder climates only the queen survives the winter.  In springtime the queen chooses a nesting site and produces a brood of all workers, which assume all the chores of a colony except egg laying.  They slowly enlarge the nest, collect and store food, create honey pots, and tend the young larvae.  Males and more queens are produced in summer and in autumn all but the queens will perish.


          Some genera of bumblebees are parasites of other bumblebees and they rely on other species to manage colonies



               Xylocopinae (previously under Anthophoridae). --  (= Nomadidae) <Habits>;  <Adults> & <Juveniles>. --Carpenter bees do not have a protuberant clypeus, the front coxae are transverse, and the last abdominal tergite lacks a triangular platelike area. 



          They construct nests in plant stems and wood.  They resemble bumblebees in size and the noise they make while in flight.  Damage is considerable to the exterior portion of wooden structures as a result of their affixing nests there.



               Nomadinae (previously under Anthophoridae).-- <Habits>;  <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- & <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- These are the cuckoo bees, which are parasites in the nests of other bees.  They resemble wasps in that their bodies are relatively free of hairs.




          Colletidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The Plasterer bees and Yellow-faced bees are a primitive group with short tongues that are either bilobed at the tip or truncate.




          Halictidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The sweat bees are small to moderately sized bees that have a metallic sheen.  Their harched basal wing vein distinguishes them.  Most nest in ground burrows, either on level ground or in river banks.  Their principal tunnel is often vertical with lateral tunnels that branch out to end in a single cell.




          Megachilidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Leafcutting bees are moderately sized insects that are distinguished from most other bees in having two submarginal cells of about equal length.  They line their nests with pieces of plant leaves that they often cut in circular fashion.  Some species are parasitic.  Their nests occur in the ground or some suitable cavity and in wood.  Some species are valued in the pollination of alfalfa.



          The common name originates from the habit of many lining their nests with pieces cut from leaves. These pieces are usually very carefully cut out, and it is not unusual to find plants from which circular pieces have been cut. A few species are parasitic. The nests are constructed in the ground but more often in some natural cavity, and often in wood.



          Melittidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Melittids are small, dark bees that are not very often encountered as they are relatively rare.  They have similar nesting habits to the Andrenidae. They are distinguished by having the jugal lobe of the hind wing shorter than the submedian cell, and the segments of the labial palps are similar and cylindrical. North American species nest in burrows in the soil.




          Sphecidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The mud daubers have a very long petiole.  Most are moderate-sized to large, with a complete wing venation, but a few are small with a length of only 2 mm. The small sphecids have a reduced wing venation, with 4-5 closed cells in the front wing. There are over 1200 species of these solitary wasps in North America.  There is the start of social organization shown in some groups.



          Females construct their nests attached to some object.  Most species nest in burrows in the ground, but some nest in natural cavities such as hollow plant stems, cavities in wood, etc.  Some also construct nests of mud. They paralyze spiders, lay an egg and seal the cell.  The larvae develop, pupate and chew their way out.


          There is a restriction to a particular type of food for the larvae of some species, but a few vary considerably in their selection of prey. Some are also cleptoparasitic, building no nest but laying their eggs in the nests of other wasps, their larvae feeding on the food stored for the host larvae.



          Eumeninae (Eumenidae). -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>. -- The powder wasps construct mud or stick shelters.



          The diagram shows a cross-section of a burrow in a stem:  The partitions between the cells are very regular and curved.  As the partitions are being laid down, the female back out of the stalk. The larvae always orient themselves with their heads turned toward the open end of the tube, which they detect by feeling the smooth, curved end of the partition with their abdomen.



          These wasps sting many pest insects to death, and can store 6-8 caterpillars in each cell.




     Superfamily:  Chrysidoidea --  (= Bethyloidea) <Overview>


          Bethylidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Bethylids are small to medium-sized, dark-colored wasps; the females of many species are apterous and antlike in appearance. In some there are both winged and wingless forms.  They are parasitoids of the larvae of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera and several species attack moths or beetles that infest grain or flour. A few species will sting humans.  Goniozus legneri Gordh has been deployed successfully in the biological control of navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella (Walker)

 (See ch-77.htm).





          Chrysididae.-- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Cuckoo wasps are small insects, rarely over 11 mm long.  Their color is metallic green or blue, and usually the body is  coarsely sculptured. They resemble some of the  chalcids and bees in size and coloration, but a more complete venation in the front wing but no closed cells in the hind wing distinguish the cuckoo wasps.  Also the structure of the abdomen is distinctive and has only 3-4 visible segments and is hollowed ventrally. When a cuckoo wasp is disturbed, it usually curls up in a ball. Most species are external parasitoids of full-grown wasp or bee larvae; the species in the genus Cleptes attack sawfly larvae, and those in Mesitiopterus attack the eggs of walking sticks (Borror et al., 1989).




          Dryinidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- These are rare wasps, and in most species males and females are morphologically distinct. Some females are wingless and resemble ants. The antennae have ten segments, and the front tarsi of the female are usually pincerlike. The peculiar -front tarsi of some females in this family are deployed for holding the host during oviposition.  Most dryinids are parasitoids of nymphs and adults of Homoptera.  Their larvae feed internally on the host, although during most of their development a part of the body of the larva protrudes from the host in a saclike structure. The parasitoid, when full grown, leaves the host and spins a silken cocoon nearby. Polyembryony occurs in some species.





     Superfamily:  Vespoidea (Formicoidea)-- <Overview>


          Bradynobaenidae -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- There were about 160 species in this family known as of 2010.  Most of them occur in tropical areas.  However, the family is absent from Australasia.  Adults are often hairy and black, brown, reddish, or bicolored and sometimes marked with bands.  The integument is often thick and hard, and the females give a painful sting.  Sex associations are very difficult (Brothers & Finnamore 1993).  All species are probably solitary.  Some information indicates that the larvae are ectoparasitic on Solifugae (Arachnida)




          Formicidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> --The ants exist as many species and they are numerically very abundant.  Polymorphism is pronounced.  The various social orders in the family have developed around a caste system.  This includes a queen, workers, soldiers, etc.  The workers can appear in different shapes and forms as influenced by nutrition and care among individuals of the colony.  All of the workers are wingless.



          The abdomen in this group is rather soft and able to take on a great deal of food, which other members of their colony are able to solicit.  They obtain it by stroking the bearer who then regurgitates the food.


          Colony Establishment. -- New males and females in the colony develop wings, after which they swarm and mate.  The females fall to the ground and chew off their wings, while the males dies.  The female then finds a suitable place to construct a cell into which she will lay eggs.  While waiting for the eggs to hatch, the female does not feed.  She derives nourishment by absorbing internal body parts, such as wing muscles, etc.


          Some species such as the driver and army ants are nomadic.  Conspicuous nests in the ground may be 2.7 meters or more below the surface.  Ants also may live in oak acorns, dry stems, etc.  Their food includes seeds, dead insects, aphid honeydew and household foods.  They may even take aphids into their nests for the winter where they are attended.


          Ant control in houses is possible with poison bait traps.  The treatment of concrete foundations with insecticides is a more drastic approach.



           Mutillidae (velvet ants) -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- These insects derive their name from the females, which are wingless and antlike and are covered with dense hairs. The males are winged and usually larger than the females and are also densely pubescent. Most species have "felt lines" laterally on the second abdominal tergum: narrow longitudinal bands of relatively dense, closely oppressed hairs (Borror & DeLong, 1954).



          The females give a painful sting. Some species can stridulate, and produce a squeaking sound when disturbed. Most of the mutillids are external parasitoids of the larvae and pupae of bees and wasps.  Some also attack beetles and flies. They are frequently found in open areas. This group is large  with about 480 North American species identified as of 2010.  Most species occur in arid regions of South and Western North America.



           Pompilidae (spider wasps) -- (= Psammocharidae) <Habits>; <Adults> &  <Juveniles> -- The pompilids ire thin glabrous wasps with long spiny legs, a quadrate pronotum, and a typical suture across the mesopleuron.  The more common members are 14-26 mm long, but some species are 34-42 mm in length. Most spider wasps are dark-colored, with smoky yellow wings; a few are brightly colored.



          The adults are commonly found on flowers or on the ground where they search for prey. The larvae of most species feed on spiders, from which they derive their common name.   However these are not the only wasps that kill spiders. The spider wasps generally capture and paralyze a spider and then prepare a cell for it in the ground, in rotten wood, or in a crevice in rocks. Some spider wasps construct a cell first, and then hunt for a spider to store in the cell. Some also attack the spider in its own cell or burrow and do not move it after stinging and ovipositing on it.  A few species oviposit on spiders that have been stung by another wasp (Borror & DeLong, 1954). The spider wasps are fairly common insects with over 275 North American species identified as of 2010.  Females have a very efficient sting.



           Rhopalosomatidae -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- There are two rare species that occur in the eastern North America, Rhopalosoma nearcticum Brues and Olixon banksii (Brues). R. nearcticum is 14.2-21 mm or more in length, is light brown in color, and resembles ichneumonids of the genus Ophion, but it does not have a compressed abdomen, the antennae contain only 12 (female) or 13 (male) segments, and there is only one recurrent vein in the front wing (Borror & DeLong, 1954).  Ophion banksii is about 6.1 mm long and has reduced wings that extend only to the tip of the propodeum. The larvae of these wasps attack crickets.




           Sapygidae -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- This is  are a small (19 North American species) and rare group. The adults are of moderate size, usually spotted and black or banded with yellow, and with squat legs. They are parasitoids of leaf cutting bees (Megachllidae) and other wasps.




           Scoliidae -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- These wasps are similar to males of the Muullidae.  They are large, hairy, and usually black with yellow bands on their abdomen.  The larvae are external parasitoids of the larvae of scarabaeid beetles.  Adults are usually collected from flowers. The females burrow into the ground to locate a host grub, which they sting  and paralyze.  They then burrow deeper into the soil and construct a cell around the grub. Many grubs may be stung without the wasp ovipositing, but these grubs usually do not recover.




           Sierolomorphidae -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- These is a small (seven North American species) but widely distributed group of shining black wasps 4.3-6.2 mm long. They are rare, and there have been few studies of their immature stages.






           Tiphiidae -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> --: This is a large family, with over145 North American species, which are common and widely distributed. They are black, medium-sized, and slightly hairy, with small legs. The larvae are parasitoids of scarab beetle larvae; one species, Tiphia popilliavora Rohwer, was imported to North America for the biological control of the Japanese beetle.




          Vespidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>  -- The paper wasps, hornets and yellow jackets construct nests with cells of paper.  They are social insects with a queen that is the only overwintering form.  The workers are for food gathering and defense, while the males serve only to mate with the females.





          Parasitica. -- Many of the Parasitica have been deployed in the biological control of other insects

                                     (Please see Biocontrol)



     Superfamily:  Ceraphronoidea--. <Overivew>


          Ceraphronidae --. <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- This is a large group whose members have been reared from a variety of hosts. Some ceraphronids are hyperparasitic, attacking the braconid or chalcid parasitoids of aphids or scale insects. Wingless forms in this group often inhabit soil and leaf litter.





          Megaspilidae --. <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The antennae in both male and female Megaspilidae have an equal number of segments (Alekseev 1978/1987).  There is a receded area above the antennal sockets.  The subcostal vein in front of the pterostigma is usually thickened and forms the prostigma.  Mesonotum in anterior part along sides sometimes with two parallel grooves extending from median groove.  Abdominal petiole masked by "neck" and not visible unless abdomen removed.  The abdomen is compressed dorsoventrally.  The male genitalia have volsellar plates prominently separated from parameres."  There were 10 species reported in Europe as of 2010.



These small insects are only 2-3.2 mm long and they are are black or yellow; macropterous, brachypterous or entirely wingless.  The forewing has a large stigma (except in males of Lagynodinae).  The antennae have 9 flagellar segments in both sexes.  The metasoma has a constricted, collar.


Very little has been reported on their hosts and habits, but some species are known to be  primary parasitoids of Coccoidea (Homoptera), Neuroptera, and puparia of Diptera, and some are hyperparasitoids of Aphididae (Homoptera) through Aphidiinae (Braconidae).  One species in California parasitizes Mecoptera (Boreidae).  There are two subfamilies:  Megaspilinae and Lagynodinae.  The former subfamily is cosmopolitan and has more than 11 genera; the latter has two genera with dimorphic sexes.  There are more than 456 species described species worldwide as of 2010.



     Superfamily:  Chalcidoidea -- <Overview>; <General References> --


       This is a large Superfamily of important insects that have been deployed successfully in biological control worldwide.  The number of species is debatable but many specialists admit to being aware of only a fraction of those still awaiting discovery.  Their taxonomy is often difficult as the characters used often show wide variation. Most  species are  small or very tiny, some being  less than 0.4 mm in long.  Chalcids occur almost everywhere, but because of their small size they are usually overlooked.. Their habitat is in a variety of situations, principally on flowers and plant foliage. They usually hold their wings flat over the abdomen when at rest, and many seem to jump when they begin to fly.


          Wing venation is a key diagnostic, and the antennae are usually elbowed and never contain more than 13 segments.  The pronotum is quadrate and does not reach the tegulae, and there is usually a prepectus present on the side of the thorax.  Most of the chalcids are dark to black in color, but many are blue or green in color with a metallic sheen.  Most species have reduced wing venation, and there is a lot of variation in body shape.  Some have peculiar, even bizarre, shapes. The wings are reduced or absent in some groups.


          Most of the chalcids are parasitoids of other insects, attacking the egg or larval stage of their hosts. Most hosts are Lepidoptera, Diptera, Coleoptera, and Homoptera.  Because these host groups contain many agricultural pests, it is obvious that the chalcids are a valuable group for natural control. Many species have been imported into different countries for biological control. The larvae of few species are phytophagous feeding inside seeds, stems, or galls.


          Agaonidae --. <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- There are two species of fig wasps, Blastophaga psenes (L.) and Secundeisenia mexicana (Ashmead), in North America, with B. psenes having been introduced to allow for the production of some commercial figs.



          The Smyrna fig, which is grown in California, produces fruits only when it is pollinated with pollen from the wild fig, or caprifig, the pollination being accomplished by fig wasps. These develop in a gall in flowers of the caprifig. The blind and flightless males emerge first and may copulate with females inside the galls. The female, on emerging from the gall, collects pollen from male flowers of the Capri fig and stores it in special baskets or corbiculae. The female pollinates figs of both types (Smyrna fig and Capri fig), but oviposits successfully only in the shorter flowers of the Capri fig. Fig growers usually aid in the process of Smyrna fig pollination by placing in the fig trees branches of the wild fig.



Aphelinidae. --<Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The group is valuable in the biological control of other insects.




          Chalcididae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- These are medium sized wasps about 2.2-8 mm long.  Their hind femora are swollen and bear teeth.  The chalcidids have antennae that are bent and very small.  The body is laterally compressed.  They are distinguished from the leucospidids by having their ovipositor short and their wings not folded longitudinally when resting.  The eggs are produced parthenogenetically at the rate of 300-400.



          The chalcidids are parasitoids of Lepidoptera, Diptera, and Coleoptera, and some are hyperparasitoids that attack tachinids or ichneumonids. The clover seed chalcid, Bruchophagus platyptera (Walker), is a serious pest of alfalfa seed and clover.  Destruction can exceed 85 percent.  The eggs are deposited through the seed pod, and only one larva will develop per seed.  Pupation occurs in the seed.  Control is especially difficult and involves eliminating light where seed is stored, and synchronizing seed production with periods of low pest activity.



           (Elasmidae = old category). -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>  --


          Elasmus is the only Genus in what is presently the subfamily Elasminae and there are about 205 species distributed worldwide. They are mostly parasitoids or hyperparasitoids of Lepidoptera larvae, but a few species are parasitoids of Polistes spp. larvae.




          Encyrtidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults-1> & <Adults-2>; &  <Juveniles> -- This is a large and worldwide group, with more than 372 North American species known. They average 1.1-2.5 mm in length and are distinguished by a broad convex mesopleura, whereas in most of the chalcids the mesopleura have a groove for the femora, but this groove is absent in the encyrtids. 



The encyrtids differ from the eupelmids by having a convex mesonotum convex and lacking parapsidal furrows or have them but incomplete. Most species are parasitoids of aphids, scale insects, and whiteflies, but there are also species that attack insects in other orders.   Polyembryony occurs in some of the species.



          Eucharitidae. -- (= Eucharidae) <Habits>; <Adults> &  <Juveniles> -- These are distinctive in their appearance and habits. They are medium-sized, black or metallic blue or green in color, with the abdomen petiolate and the scutellum sometimes spined.  The thorax appears humpbacked. They are parasitoids of the pupae of ants



          The eggs are laid in large numbers on the leaves or buds and hatch into tiny flattened larvae called planidia. These planidia lie in wait on vegetation or on the ground and attach to passing ants, which carry them to the ant nests. Once in the nest, the planidia leave the worker ant that and attach to ant larvae; they do little or no feeding on the larvae of the ant, but feed after the larva has pupated.



          Eulophidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>  -- This is a large group with more than 125 North American species known.  They are small insects averaging 1.2-4 mm long.  They parasitize a variety of hosts that includes some major pests of agricultural crops.  The 4-segmented tarsi and the axillae, which extends forward beyond the tegulae, distinguishes them  Many species are brightly colored and the males of some have pectinate antennae.



          Some species are hyperparasitoids, and there are some bizarre phenomena regarding hyperparasitism and sex in the eulophids that attack scale insects.  In the genus Coccophagus, the females develop as parasitoids of scale insects, while the males develop as hyperparasitoids attacking parasitoids of scale insects, which may even be females of their own species.



          Eupelmidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>  -- This is a large family with over 95 North American species known. They resemble encyrtids, but they have a flatter mesonotum and parapsidal furrows are present. Some apterous or have very short wings. 



          Many are able to jump and they often tumble around after jumping, before gaining a grip; their jumping is facilitated by their ability to bend the head and abdomen up over the thorax, much as occurs in click beetles. The members of this group attack a wide variety of hosts; a number of species are known to attack hosts in different orders; and a few are parasitoids of spiders.



          Eurytomidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>  -- The eurytomids resemble perilampids by having the thorax coarsely punctated, but differ in that they have the abdomen rounded or oval and compressed. They are black, with the thorax, head, and antennae usually hairy.   They are more slender insects than the perilampids.



          Their habits vary with some being parasitic and some phytophagous.



          Leucospidae (Leucospididae). -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>  -- Leucospids are usually black-and-yellow insects, and they are parasitoids of bees and wasps. They are rare, but may sometimes be found on flowers. They are stout-bodied, have the wings folded longitudinally at rest, and resemble small yellow jackets. The ovipositor is long and curves upward and forward over the abdomen, ending over the posterior part of the thorax. Like the chalcidids, the leucospidids have the hind femora greatly swollen and toothed on the ventral side (Borror et al. 1989).




          Mymaridae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> The fairy flies are tiny insects, mostly less than a millimeter long,  with linear hind wings.  They attack insect eggs, and some species attack the eggs of aquatic insects. This group contains some of the smallest insects known; one species of Aldptus has a body length of only 0.19 mm.




          Ormyridae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>  -- Ormyridae resemble the Torymidae, but have the parapsidal sutures indistinct or absent and have a very short ovipositor. They are parasitoids of gall insects.




          Perilampidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Perilampids are stout chalcids with a large thorax that is pocked.  Their abdomen is small, shiny and triangular shaped.  Some species are metallic green that resembles cuckoo wasps, while others are black. 



          These wasps occur on flowers, and most species are hyperparasitoids that attack Diptera and Hymenoptera which are parasitoids of caterpillars.  Some attack free-living insects in various orders. Perilampus  platygdster Say is a hyperparasitoid that attacks Meteorus dimididtus Cresson, a braconid parasite of the grape leaf folder. The perilampids, like the eucharitids, lay their eggs on foliage, and the eggs hatch into larvae of the planidium type.  The planidia remain on the foliage, attach to a passing host and penetrate into its body cavity. If a hyperparasitic species enters a caterpillar that is not parasitized, it usually does not develop, but if the caterpillar is parasitized, then the perilampid larva usually remains inactive in the caterpillar until the caterpillar parasitoid has pupated, and then attacks the parasitoid. The perilampids regularly attack the pupae of tachinids, braconids, or ichneumonids.




          Pteromalidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The PteromaIids are a large group of about 400 North American species.  They are tiny black or metallic-green or bronze wasps . They are parasitic and attack a wide variety of hosts with many being valuable in the biological control of crop pests. The adults of many species feed on the body fluids of the host, which exude from punctures made by the parasite's ovipositor (see Photo #3 to the right below).



          In  Habrocytus cerealellae (Ashmead) that attacks larvae of the angoumois grain moth and where the host larvae are in the seed and out of reach of the adult pteromalid, a viscous fluid is secreted from the ovipositor that is then formed into a feeding tube extending down to the host larva. The adult sucks up the body fluids of the host through this tube.



          Rotoitidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- This family is confined to New Zealand, and there is very little information about the biology of its members.  Detailed information is currently being acquired for this family




          Signiphoridae. (Thysanidae)  -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- These are small, thick-bodied chalcids that attack scale insects, whiteflies, and other Homoptera or are hyperparasitoids of the chalcids that attack Homoptera.




          Tanaostigmatidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Four rare species in this family are known from the Southwestern United States and Florida.  The larvae are primarily gall makers.




          Tetracampidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- This is a small family wasps that are parasitoids of phytophagous insects, primarily Diptera. There were 44 species identified by 2010, but they rare in the Americas The males of many species have 4 segmented tarsi, which is common in the Eulophidae), but females always have 5 tarsal segments that is found in Pteromalidae. The antennae of both males and females are like the Pteromalidae.


There are many fossil recoveries and their relationships to other Chalcidoidea are not well studied.





          Torymidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Torymids are elongated, metallic-green and average 2.2-4.5 mm long.   There is a long ovipositor; the hind coxae are large, and there are clear parapsidal sutures on the thorax.



          There are both parasitic and phytophagous species: the TorylriInae, Erimennae, and Monodontomennae attack gall insects and caterpillars; the Podagriorunae attack mantid eggs; and the Idarrunae and MegastiglriInae attack seeds (Borror et al., 1989).



          Trichogrammatidae. -- Trichogrammatidae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Trichogrammatids are tiny insects, 0.3-1.1 mm long,.  The three-segmented tarsi, and the microscopic hairs of the wings that are usually arranged in rows, distinguish them and the rather short head that is somewhat concave posteriorly. The members of this group are parasitoids attacking eggs of their hosts. Some species have been reared in large numbers to aid in the control of orchard pests.





    Superfamily:  Cynipoidea. -- <Overview> --


       This group includes mostly small or tiny insects with a reduced wing venation . Most species are black, and the abdomen is usually shiny and compressed. The antennae are filiform, the pronotum extends back to the tegulae, and the ovipositor issues from anterior to the apex of the abdomen.


          Austrocynipidae. -- This is one of the most rare groups of Hymenoptera that is native to Australia with only one species, Austrocynips mirabilis.   A pterostigma in the radial cell of the forewing distinguishes it from other Cynipoidea.  Also the posterior margin of the pronotum hangs over the anterior margin of the mesopleuron.  The group was originally placed in a subfamily of Cynipidae, but it now known to be phylogenetically basic to other members of the superfamily.

          Austrocynips mirabilis was reared as a parasitoid from a Lepidoptera moth in the cone of an Araucaria sp. belonging to the Family Araucariaceae.

          Further information about the Austrocynipidae can be found in Richie 1993, Ronquist 1995 and Ronquist 1999.



          Cynipidae. -- Cynipidae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>. -- The gall wasps are divided into three subfamilies, of which two (Eucoilinae and Charipinae) are parasitic and the third (Cyniplnae) is gall makers or gall inquilines; a little over a hundred species of the first two subfamilies occur in the United States, compared with some 640 Cyniplnae (Borror et al., 1989).



          The Cynipinae, or gall wasps, are a large group, and many species are quite common. They are small to minute, usually black insects that are distinguished by their shape and wing venation. The abdomen is oval, compressed, and shining, and the second tergum covers about half or more of the abdomen. The Cynipinae differ from the Charipinae in that they are larger  and the thorax usually has coarse sculpturing.


          Each species of gall maker forms a characteristic gall in a particular part of a plant, the galls being much more often noticed than are the insects. Many of the gall wasps form galls on oak.  Some galls harbor a single insect, while many insects develop in others. The inquilines among the gall wasps live in galls made by some other gall insect. Most of the gall wasps are of little economic importance, but some of their galls have been used as a source of tannic acid and others have been used as a source of certain dyes.


          Many gall wasps have a complex life history with two different generations a year. The summer generation is spent in one type of gall, and the wasps, consisting entire of females emerge in autumn.  They reproduce parthenogenetically. The eggs of this generation hatch and develop in a different type of gall, and the adults that emerge in the early part of the following summer contain both  males and females. Both the adult insects and the galls of these two generations may be quite different in appearance (Borror et al., 1989).


          The Eucoilinae are distinguished by a rounded rise on the scutellum.  They are parasitoids of Diptera pupae.


          The Charipinae are tiny insects, 2.1 mm long or less.  They have a smooth thorax, and they are hyperparasitoids, attacking braconids, which are aphid parasitoids.



          Figitidae. -- Figitidae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- These are parasitoids of the pupae of lacewings and Diptera. The family is divided into three subfamilies, primarily on the basis of the structure of the abdomen: the Anacharitinae, which have the abdomen distinctly petiolate and the second tergum longer than the third ( ), attack the cocoons of lacewings (Chrysopidae); the Aspiceratinae, in which the second abdominal tergum is narrow and much shorter than the third, attack the pupae of syrphid flies; the Figitinae, in which the second tergum is only slightly shorter than the third , attack the pupae of various Diptera (Borror et al., 1989).




          Ibaliidae. -- Ibaliidae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>  -- The ibaliids are large 7-18 mm long and have the abdomen elongated.  They are parasitoids of horntails.  They are a rare group that is not often observed or collected.




          Liopteridae. -- Liopteridae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>  -- These insects have a petiolate abdomen which is attached above the bases of the hind coxae. Three are rare species about which is very little known.





    Superfamily:  Evanioidea. -- <Overview> --


          In this Superfamily the abdomen is attached high above the hind  coxae, the antennae are filiform and have 13 or 14 segments.  The trochanters have two segments, and the front wing venation is usually  complete and there is a costal cell. Some (Gasteruptlidae and Aulacidae) superficially resemble ichneumons. All are parasitoids of other insects.


          Aulacidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>  -- Aulacids resemble Gasteruptiidae, but they are more black with a red abdomen.  The antennae are longer, and there are two recurrent veins in the front wings.  They are parasitoids of the larvae of wood boring beetles and xiphydriid wood wasps.  Adults occur around logs where they find their hosts.




          Evaniidae. --  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>. -- The ensign wasps  are black, and resemble spiders.  They average 10-16 mm long. The abdomen is small and oval and is attached by a petiole to the propodeum much above the base of the hind coxae ; it is carried almost like a flag (hence the common name for this family.) These wasps are parasitoids of the egg capsules of cockroaches and may be found in buildings or other places where cockroaches roam.




          Gasteruptiidae (Gasteruptiidae). -- Gasteruptiidae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- These resemble ichneumonids, but they have shorter antennae and a costal cell in the front wings.  The head is projected out on a neck. They have one submarginal cell or none and one recurrent vein or none.  They are black insects, and the ovipositor of the female is about as long as the body. Adults are common and are usually found on flowers, especially wild parsnip, wild carrot, and related species. The larvae are parasitoids of solitary wasps and bees.




    Superfamily:  Ichneumonoidea. -- <Overview>


           Ichneumonidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults-1> & <Adults-2> & <Adults-3>; & <Juveniles>. -- The ichneumonids are one of the most important parasitic insect groups and also one of the largest in the Insecta.  There have been over 3400 species found in North America alone.  The adults vary in size, form, and coloration, but most resemble slender wasps.  They have a long, narrowed appearance, and there is a large stigma on the forewing.  They differ from the stinging wasps by having antennae that are longer and with more segments.   Their trochanters are 2-segmented (1- segmented in the stinging wasps), and they a costal cell in the front wings is absent.



          The ovipositor can inject eggs into the host, which may be another ecto- or endoparasitoid.  In many species the ovipositor is quite long, often longer than the body, arising anteriorly to the tip of the abdomen being permanently extended.  In the stinging wasps the ovipositor issues from the tip of the abdomen and is withdrawn into the abdomen when not being used. The ichneumonids differ from the braconids by having two recurrent veins whereas the braconids have only one or none and in having an abdomen that is longer than the head and thorax combined. In many species there is a considerable difference in the appearance

Between males and females.


          The ichneumons attack a variety of hosts, though most species attack only few kinds. There are few groups of insects that are not hosts of some ichneumonid, and some species in this family attack spiders. Most ichneumonids are internal parasitoids of the immature stages of their hosts. The parasitoid may complete its development in the stage of the host in which the egg is laid or in some later stage.



          Agriotypinae is a Palaearctic subfamily of the parasitic Ichneumonidae.  Agriotypus is the only genus in the group  .The known species are aquatic ectoparasitoids of Trichoptera pupae.  The placement Agriotypus is not clear as it has been classified with both the Proctotrupoidea and  as a separate family of Ichneumonoidea.




          Braconidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults-1> & <Adults-2> & <Adults-3> &  <Juveniles>. -- All species of the braconids are parasitic on other insects.  They sting the host and thereby paralyze it.



          There are more than 1850 North American species most of which are beneficial. The adults are all fairly small rarely exceeding 16 mm in long.  Many are stout-bodied than the ichneumons, and the abdomen is about as long as the head and the thorax combined.  They are similar to ichneumonids by lacking a costal cell, but they differ by not having more than one recurrent vein.  Many species are valued as natural controls of pest insects.


           Braconids and ichneumonids have similar habits, but unlike the ichneumonids many pupate in silken cocoons on the outside of the body of their hosts, while others spin silken cocoons entirely apart from the host.  Polyembryony occurs in a few species, primarily in the genus Macrocentrus, each egg of M. grandis Goidanich, a parasitoid of the European corn borer, develops into from 16 to 24 larvae.




          The Aphidiinae are a subfamily of parasitic wasps that hve aphids as their hosts. The larva of Praon sp. exits from the hollowed shell of the aphid to pupate in a cocoon, but most Aphidiinae pupate inside the dead aphid.  Some species have been deployed for biological control  of aphids 


          Although they have been considered as a separate family, the Aphidiidae, the Aphidiinae are now grouped with the Braconidae.  Their relationship to other braconid subfamilies is not fully understood.




          Apozygidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- This is a little studied family where there is only one Genus and two species known from Chile, South America.





    Superfamily:  Megalyroidea. -- <Overview>


          Megalyridae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Mason (1993) reported that the Megalyridae are mainly parasitoids of Coleoptera larvae that are found under tree bark.  One species parasitizes a species of Pemphredonidae.  There are about 11 species in Africa, South America, southeast Asia and Australia.


The body is sturdy and cylindrical (Mason 1993).  The gena has a large, spacious, oval pit where the antennal scape occurs.  The mesoscutum is flattened and has large triangular axillae, and in most but one genus there is a pronounced median groove that bisects the mesoscutum.





    Superfamily:  Mymarommatoidea (or Serphitoidea). --


          Mymarommatidae. -- (= Callimomidae) <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- This is a very small family of tiny insects. Only 10 living species in 1 genus have been described with others being known only as fossils.  They had occurred worldwide. So that  more are certain to be found.  Nevertheless, they they are easily missed and hardto study because of their small size of only 0.3 mm. long.



          Little is known about the biology of these insects but because of their size, and simple ovipositor, it is thought that they are parasitoids on the eggs of other insects. They were originally placed as a subfamily of the chalcidoid family Mymaridae but, because of morphological differences, are now considered in their own superfamily, Mymarommatoidea, and their similarity to Mymaridae is probably a case of convergent evolution.


          There is no agreement as to the nearest living relatives of the Mymarommatidae.  It haas been suggested that nearest relatives are the extinct family Serphitidae, and thus the Mymarommatidae could be considered as "living fossils", a surviving lineage of an extinct superfamily Serphitoidea.




     Superfamily:  Platygastroidea


          Platygastridae. -- (= Platygasteridae) <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- These are tiny, shining-black insects with sparce wing venation so that they resemble chalcids.  The antennae usually have 10 segments and are attached very low on the face, next to the clypeus . Most species are parasitoids of the larvae of Cecidomylidae.  Platygdster hiemalis Forbes has been successfully deployed as a biological control the Hessian fly. Polyembryony occurs in some species, with as many as 20 progeny emanating  from one egg.


   Most of the platygasterids are of average appearance, insects, but the genus Inostemma are different in that they have a long structure that arises from the dorsum of the first abdominal segment and extends forward over the thorax, which serves as a sheath  for the ovipositor.





         Scelionidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Scelionids are small insects that are parasitoids of insect or spider eggs.  Some species have been successfully deployed in the biological control of crop pests. The females of some species, mainly those that attack the eggs of grasshoppers or mantids, attach themselves to the female of the host species and ride on it until the host lays its eggs, after which they depart from the host and attack its eggs. In a few such cases the female may do some feeding on the adult of the host, but usually the adult host serves only as a means of disemination. This behavior is called phoresy and is found also in the chalcid family Eucharltidae





    Superfamily:  Proctotrupoidea. -- <Overview> --


          All species in this Superfamily are parasitoids that attack the immature stages of other insects. Most are small or very tiny, black and shiny.  They resemble chalcids, cynipids, or some of the scolioid or bethyloids. The smaller species have a reduced wing venation like the chalcids, but differ by the structure of the thorax and ovipositor.  The pronotum is triangular in lateral view and projects to the tegulae, and the ovipositor emanates from the tip of the abdomen rather than from anterior.  Spome have their abdomen dorsoventrally flattened with the lateral edges sharp. Proctotrupoids are not as widespread as the chalcids or ichneumonids, and some are rare.  There are about 955 species known to occur in North America.


         Austroniidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Little is known about the biology of these proctotrupids, but they are thought to be parasitoids of other insects. There is only one described genus with 3 species, all from Australia




          Diapriidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Diapriids are small to tiny black insects, most of which are parasites of immature Diptera. The form of the head distinguishes them; the antennae arise on a shelf like projection in about the middle of the face.



          These insects occur near the ground in wooded areas, for they attack fungus gnats (MycetophIlidae) and other flies breeding in fungi.  Some species have been introduced into California for the biological control of Hippelates eye gnats (see ch-20.htm).



          Heloridae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- There is but one North American species known, Helorus paradixus (Provancher), a black insect about 4.5 mm long with a more or less complete venation in the front wings. This species is a Parasite of the larvae of chrysopid lacewings.  Adults emerge from the host's cocoon.




          Maamingidae. --  Little is known of the biology of this family save that it has been collected from isolated islands near New Zealand.  There are two genera with two described species.


          A good references is:  Early, J. W., L. Masner, I. D. Naumann & A. D. Austin.  2001.  Maamingidae, a new family of proctotrupoid wasp (Insecta: Hymenoptera) from New Zealand. Invertebrate taxonomy, 15: 341-352.



          Mesoserphidae. -- These are parasitoids of immature stages of other insects. Most species are small black, and may often be confused with cynipids or chalcidoids. The smallest species have a reduced wing venation, but they may be separated from chalcidoids by the structure of the mesosoma and ovipositor. The pronotum in the proctotrupoids is more triangular when viewed laterally and it extends to the tegulae. The ovipositor emanates from the tip of the metasoma rather than from anterior to the tip


          A good reference is :  Rasnitsyn A.P. 1986. New hymenopterous insects of the family Mesoserphidae. Vestnik zool. 2: 19-25 (in Russian).



          Monomachidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The body of members of this family is about 9.5-11.2 mm long (Masner 1993).  They are sexually dimorphic.  Females have a sickle-shaped attenuated metasoma, males have a pedunculate metasoma.  The mandibles are very huge.  The pronotum has a sharp transverse ridge that is capable of sliding over the anterior part of the mesoscutum.  The propodeum is cone-shaped, without a median keel.  The metacoxa is inserted relatively remote from the propodeal foramen.  The forewing usually has 5 closed cells and a relatively narrow stigma.  The metasomal segment 1 (petiole) is very long and slender, and metasomal tergum 2 consists of 1 tergum that is not the longest segment.  The ovipositor is extremely short, concealed insider the metasomal segment 8.


          Some Neotropical species are light green and a few multicolored.  In Australia one species has been reared from Stratiomyidae (Diptera).  Adults of the Australian species are active during winter.  In 2 undescribed Neotropical species (from Peru and Chile) the female is micropterous.  The family has 2 genera and ca. 20 rare species, mostly in the New World tropics (Guerrero, Mexico to Argentina and Chile), with only a few additional ones in Australia and New Guinea.  They are all apparently of Southern Hemispheric origin.



           Some references are: Musetti, L.; Johnson, N.F. 2000: First documented record of Monomachidae (Hymenoptera: Proctotrupoidea) in New Guinea, and description of two new species. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 102: 957-963.


Musetti, L. & N. F. Johnson. 2004: Revision of the New World species of the genus Monomachus Klug (Hymenoptera: Proctotrupoidea, Monomachidae). Canadian entomologist, 136: 501-552.


Naumann, I. D. 1985: The Australian species of Monomachidae (Hymenoptera: Proctotrupoidea), with a revised diagnosis of the family. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society, 24: 261-274.



         Pelecinidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- These parasitize the larvae of Phyllophaga spp. (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) There are three species known in one genus (Pelecinus), which are distributed in the Western Hemisphere.  There is only one North American genus with one species: Pelecinus polyturator Drury. Worldwide, there is only one extant genus, Pelecinus, with three recognized species (Galloway 2008):




          Proctorenyxidae. -- The biology of these wasps remains unstudied, but they are believed to be parasitoids on other insects.


          There is one genus with one described sp.: Proctorenyxa incredibilis.



         Peradeniidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- The biology of these proctotrupids is unstudied, but they have been collected during the winter months in Australia.  There is one genus, Peradenia, with two species.



         Proctotrupidae. -- (= Serphidae) <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>; Serphidae (now with Proctotrupidae) <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> --: Most Proctotrupids range in size from 3 to 7 mm long.  They are distinguished by a large stigma in the front wing, beyond which is a very small marginal cell.  Some species are parasitoids of beetles, and flies.



         Roproniidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- There are three rare North American species of Ropronia. The adults are 8-12 mm long and have a laterally flattened, triangular and petiolate abdomen and a more or less complete venation in the front wing . The immature stages are parasitoids of sawflies.




         Vanhorniidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- There is a single North American species, Vanhornia eucnemidarum Crawford, which is a parasitoid of the larvae of eucnemid beetles.




    Superfamily:  Stephanoidea. -- <Overview>


         Stephanidae. -- Stephanidae <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Stephanids are a small of rare hymenopterans that are parasitoids of the larvae of wood-boring beetles. The adults vary in length from 4-20 mm.   They are slim and resemble ichneumonids with their long ovipositor. The head is quite spherical, and protrudes on a neck.  It also has a crown of about four or five teeth around the median ocellus.  The hind coxae are long, and the hind femora are swollen and also have teeth. Most American species occur in the western Nearctic.




    Superfamily:  Trigonaloidea. -- <Overview>


         Trigonalidae. -- <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> -- Trigonalids are a small group of rare hymenopterans of average size and quite brightly colored.   Their bodies are stout and they resemble wasps, but have long and multisegmented antennae.



          Trigonalids are parasitoids of Vespidae or hyperparasitoids of caterpillars. The very small eggs are laid in large numbers on plant foliage. In the case of the species attacking caterpillar parasites, the eggs hatch when eaten by a caterpillar, and the wasp larvae attack the ichneumon, tachinid, or other parasitoid larva that may be present. In the species that attack vespid larvae, the eggs are eaten by a caterpillar, which is in turn eaten by a vespid wasp, which in regurgitating the caterpillar and feeding it to its young, transfers the trigonalid larvae from the caterpillar to the wasp larvae (Borror & DeLong, 1954).






Details of Insect Taxonomic Groups


          Examples of beneficial species occur in almost every insect order, and considerable information on morphology and habits has been assembled.  Therefore, the principal groups of insect parasitoids and predators provide details that refer to the entire class Insecta.  These details are available at <taxnames.htm>.




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