Please refer also to the following links for details on this group:
Gasteruptiidae = Link 1
Description & Statistics
Gasteruptiidae (Gasteruptiidae). -- 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. Adults have a typical hovering flight with their enlarged metatibiae hanging down so that the insect resembles a helicopter carrying a large weight (Mason 1993). The biology of Nearctic species is little known, but some European species have been obtained from the nests of solitary bees or wasps in holes in wood where they are predators, feeding on one or more of the eggs and larvae found in the nests.
This is one of the more unique among the Apocrita, with little variation in appearance. They differ from the Stephanidae by the absence of serrations on the head dorsum and the rather thick antennae. There are about 500 described species in 9 genera with most species in tropical areas. The propleura are arranged in a "neck", the petiole is located high on the propodeum, and the hind tibiae are enlarged into a club. Females have a long ovipositor. They oviposit in the nests of solitary bees and wasps, while the larvae are predatory on host larvae and other provisions.
This family is distributed worldwide and is represented by a considerable number of species. However little is known regarding them except that they are parasitic on solitary wasps and bees (Clausen 1940/1962). Hoppner (1904) gave a general account of the habits of Gasteruption assectator F. as a parasitoid of Prosopis spp. in Europe. Eggs are deposited externally upon the body of mature Prosopis larvae. It is not known whether this takes place before or after the cell is closed. After the host larva has been completely consumed, the Gasteruption larva gnaws its way into an adjoining cell and feeds on a second host before reaching maturity. The cocoon is formed within the cell of the host. Mature larvae of G. assectator are elongate and bear bands of stout, brownish setae, directed caudad, on the dorsum of the segments. A lesser number of these setae occur ventrally. There are nine pairs of spiracles that are located on the second thoracic and the first eight segments of the abdomen. The mandibles are tridentate (Clausen 1940/1962).
The body of Gasterupiidae is slim (Mason 1993). The female antenna has 12 flagellar segments and there are 11 in the male. The propleura is long and neck-like, definitely separating the head from the pronotum. The metasoma is attached high on the propodeum, so that it seems to touch the metanotum. The metatibia is clavate in both sexes. The ovipositor is moderately long except in the genus Hyptiogaster.
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