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For educational purposes only; do not review, quote or abstract:--

A Public Service on the basics of Insect Identification

 

 

Key to Families of African Chalcidoidea

 

(Derived fr. Prinsloo, 1980 & 1984 by E. F. Legner)

 

(Email Contacts)

 

[This key is in a form commonly used in North America.  If the statement is true, proceed to

the designated couplet, whereas if it is false, go to "b" portion of the couplet.  Numbers in

parentheses refer to previous couplet read].

 

Please CLICK on key desired:

 

Key to Families of African Chalcidoidea

 

Key to Most Common Families of African Chalcidoidea

 

 

 [Please refer to <Principal Groups>for more illustrations]

 

       Prinsloo (1980) characterized Chalcidoidea by their small size, about 2-4 mm. length, metallic appearance and elbowed antennae.  He regarded them distinguished from most other parasitic Hymenoptera by the reduced fore wing venation, comprising at most a submarginal, marginal, stigmal  (radial) and postmarginal vein .  They are different from Proctotrupoidea, which resemble them, by the pronotum which does not reach backwards to meet the tegulae, or wing covers.  The following keys are for both males and females:

 

 (Note:  Not all illustrations are African species):

 

Key to Families of African Chalcidoidea

 

 

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1a.  Tarsi with 3 segments; fore wing without a postmarginal vein, the wing disc with setae arranged in radiating rows body not <1.0 mm ......... Trichogrammatidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

2

1b.  Tarsi with 4-5 segments, except in some apterous males of fig insects; setae on wing disc arranged other than previous (1a)

 

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2a.  Hind wing with a basal stalk composed of submarginal vein, the wing disc ribbon-like, not extending to its base; fore wing often with venation and setation as in; antennal sockets with venation and setation; antennal sockets far apart, close to eye margins; tarsi with 4-5 segments; slender, dainty, usually  <1.0 mm long .......... Mymaridae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

3

2b.  Hind wing not petiolate, fore wing shaped different from previous (2a); antennal sockets usually closer together, well separated from eyes; mostly >1.0 mm

 

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3a.  Hind leg with coxa much enlarged and flattened, like a plate, the tibia with stout, dark setae, arranged in a  definite pattern; female antenna with 3 funicle segments, that of male always branched; fore wing shaped like a wedge; tarsi with 4 segments .......... Elasmidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

4

3b.  Hind coxa not flattened, all other characters combined are different than previous (3a)

 

5

4a.  Femur of hind leg swollen, its ventral margin toothed; hind tibia curved

 

8

4b.  Hind femur normal, not swollen; hind tibia not curved

 

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5a.  Fore wing folded longitudinally when resting; ovipositor generally long, recurved over apex and gaster dorsum; frequently bear color patterns like wasps .......... Leucospidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

6

5b.  Different from previous (5a)

 

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6a.  Head and thorax coarsely sculptured, with pits or large punctations; body robust, does not refract light, usually  black, sometimes with yellowish to orange markings ......... Chalcididae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

7

6b.  Head and thorax finely sculptured, not coarsely punctate or pitted; body often slender, always metallic or partially metallic

 

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7a.  Gaster somewhat compressed longitudinally, the dorsum almost convex in profile; hind coxa 2X as long as fore coxa; ovipositor generally protrudes prominently at gastral apex, often by more than body length (frequently primary parasitoids of Mantidae oothecae) .......... Torymidae  (part: Monodontomerinae)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

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7b.  Gaster depressed, dorsally flattened; hind coxa not much longer and larger than fore coxa; ovipositor usually at most slightly exserted caudally; parasitoids of woodboring Coleoptera ........... Pteromalidae  (part: Chalcidectinae)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles> <View:  Pteromalidae Subfamiliea>

 

9

8a.  Head prognathous, elongated, flattened, sometimes with a median longitudinal furrow or excavation; body smooth, shiny, without sculpture, brownish or yellowish, without metallic reflections; fore and hind tibiae stout, the femora often longer than tibiae; associated with fig fruits (Ficus spp.)

 

11

8b.  Different than previous (8a); if head prognathous and body smooth without sculpture (rare as in some Pteromalidae: Cerocephaline and a few Encyrtidae), then thoracic dorsum

 

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9a.  Apterous males only; 3 pairs of tarsi frequently differing in number of segments; eyes and ocelli  frequently absent .......... Agaonidae  & Torymidae  (part = Sycophaginae)

 

10

9b.  Females winged

 

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10a.  Mandibles with large proximal appendage lying against underside of head, usually ridged transversely .......... Agaonidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

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10b.  Mandible lacking proximal appendage ......... Torymidae  (part = Sycophaginae, part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

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11a.  Thorax characteristically shaped as follows:  scutellum like a transverse band, axillae not distinct, propodeum with a median triangular area, usually shiny; body frequently shorter than 1.0 mm, dorsally flattened, smooth, usually blackish, sometimes yellow; short antennae, with 2-4 very small funicle segments, the club long, not segmented; fore wing often with long marginal fringe.  Femur and tibia of middle leg with long spines, tibial spur strongly developed, toothed ............ Signiphoridae

 

12

11b.  Not as previous (11a)

 

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12a.  Thorax short and arched, with pronotum reduced and not visible in dorsal view; apex of scutellum sometimes with processes; head small, somewhat triangular; mandibles large, sickle-shaped; abdominal petiole frequently long and slender; parasitoids of ants .......... Eucharitidae  (including Philomedes)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

13

12b.  Pronotum clearly visible from above, other characters in combination different from previous (12a); no ant parasitoids

 

14

13a.  Thorax with mesopleura large, convex, without any vertical grooves or lines; middle tibia with sturdily developed, straight, apical spur

 

16

13b.  Mesopleura not large and convex, often with vertical grooves; middle tibial spur comparatively small and weakly developed, except in males of Eupelmidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

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14a.  Thorax with large, swollen prepectus, projected forward to cover lateral part of pronotum .......... Tanaostigmatidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

15

14b.  Prepectus small, not swollen, does not cover pronotum laterally

 

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15a.  Middle coxae inserted close to fore coxae, at about middle of mesopleuron; thorax with disc of mesoscutum convex or flat, not impressed with grooves or ridges; marginal vein of fore wing comparatively short, sometimes rudimentary; antenna rarely with more than 6 funicle segments  ........... Encyrtidae  <Habits>; <Adults-1> & <Adults-2>; & <Juveniles>

 

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15b.  Middle coxa inserted close to hind coxa, at about posterior end of mesopleuron; disc of mesoscutum almost impressed at least posteriorly; antenna with 7 funicle segments (5 in Neanastatus); marginal vein long, usually much longer than stigmal or postmarginal veins ........... Eupelmidae  (part)

 

17

16a.  Hind tarsus with 4 segments

 

19

16b.  Hind tarsus with 5 segments

 

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17a.  Males only:  antenna with 11-12 segments; pronotum large, bell-shaped, usually indistinctly separated from mesoscutum, the hind margin usually indistinct; scutellum without setae, except for 2 pairs of long bristles  ........... Tetracampidae  (part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

18

17b.  Males not as previous (17a), or females

 

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18a.  Abdominal gaster broadly sessile, its base broadly associated with propodeum; body not refract light, <1.0 mm. long .......... Aphelinidae  (part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

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18b.  Gaster definitely constricted at its junction with propodeum, the petiole usually visible; body usually at least partly refracting light, usually >1.0 mm. long ......... Eulophidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

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19a.  Gaster broadly sessile; body <1.5 mm. long, does not refract light; antennae with not more than 8 distinct segments; fore wing with stigmal vein at most short, the postmarginal vein indistinct ............ Aphelinidae  (part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

20

19b.  Gaster definitely constricted at junction with propodeum, the petiole frequently visible; antenna with 8 or more segments; often larger species

 

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20a.  Pronotum viewed dorsally, large, subretangular; body usually black, never with metallic lustre; thorax and head coarsely sculptured; parapsidal sulci complete .......... Eurytomidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

21

20b.  Pronotum viewed from above, not subretangular, or if rarely so, then body distinctly refracts light and thorax then finely sculptured

 

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21a.  Dorsum of gaster occupied largely by the somewhat fused basal two tergites (separated only by a thin line) which are laterally separated, giving the gaster a triangular shape in lateral view; thorax with prepectus fused with lateral part of pronotum; body robust, usually metallic, the thorax frequently coarsely pitted but also finely striate; antennae short with one ring segment and 7 transverse segments ............ Perilampidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

22

21b.  Segmentation and shape of gaster not as previous (21a); prepectus not fused with pronotum laterally; other characters in combination different

 

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22a.  Mesoscutum with parapsidal sulci incomplete, not reaching posterior margin of mesoscutum ............ Pteromalidae  (part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

23

22b.  Parapsidal sulci complete, reaching hind margin of mesoscutum

 

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23a.  Fore wing with stigmal vein typically enlarged button-like; body yellow to brownish, the thorax sometimes partly metallic green; ovipositor protrudes strongly backward ....... Torymidae  (part:  Megastigminae)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

24

23b.  Fore wing venation different from previous (23a)

 

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24a.  Hind coxa plainly larger and longer than fore coxa, usually more than 3X as long as the latter; fore wing with stigmal vein short ...........25

 

26

24b.  Hind coxa hardly larger than fore coxa, the stigmal vein relatively long

 

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25a.  Gaster finely sculptured, shiny; ovipositor protruding strongly backward, often by more than length of body; body somewhat slender  ............ Torymidae  (part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

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25b.  Gaster coarsely sculptured, often pitted, in female subconical with a long epipygium (distal tergite); ovipositor protrudes at most slightly backward; body robust  .......... Ormyridae

 

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26a.  Males only: middle tibia with strongly developed, straight, apical spur; antenna with one  ring-segment and 7 funicle segments (5 in Neanastatus) .............. Eupelmidae  (part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

27

26b.  Males and females:  middle tibial spur weak; antenna often with more than one ring segment.

 

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27a.  Scutellum without setae except for 2 long pairs of bristles; pronotum large, bell-shaped, the hind margin usually closely joined to mesoscutum; fore tibia with apical spur weakly developed, usually straight  ............. Tetracampidae  (part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

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27b.  Scutellum with setation different from previous (27a); pronotum usually relatively small, not bell-shaped; fore tibial spur stronger, curved ........... Pteromalidae  (part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>   <View:  Pteromalidae Subfamiliea>

 

Key to Most Common Families of African Chalcidoidea

 

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1a.  Tarsi with 3 segments  ........... Trichogrammatidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

2

1b.  Tarsi with 4-5 segments

 

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2a.  Hind wing basally petiolate; less than 1.0 mm. long  ........... Mymaridae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

3

2b.  Hind wing not petiolate

 

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3a.  Hind coxa greatly enlarged, flattened, plate-like; tarsi with 4 segments  .............. Elasmidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

4

3b.  Hind coxa never flattened

 

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4a.  Fore wing folded longitudinally, the ovipositor recurved over apex and dorsum of gaster   .............. Leucospidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

5

4b.  Fore wing not folded longitudinally, the ovipositor not recurved over gastral dorsum

 

6

5a.  Hind femur swollen, its ventral margin toothed

 

7

5b.  Hind femur not swollen, very rarely toothed

 

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6a.  Body without a metallic lustre  ........... Chalcididae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

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6b.  Body with a metallic green, blue or purplish lustre  ........... Torymidae  (part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

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7a.  Mandible with a large appendage which lies against underside of head  ........... Agaonidae  (females)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

8

7b.  Mandible without previously noted appendage (7a)

 

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8a.  Thorax typically shaped:  scutellum in the shape of a transverse band, the axillae indistinct  ............. Signiphoridae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

9

8b.  Thorax shaped different from that described previously (8a)

 

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9a.  Pronotum not visible in dorsal view  ........... Eucharitidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

10

9b.  Pronotum clearly visible from above

 

11

10a.  Thorax with mesopleura large, convex, without any vertical grooves or lines

 

12

10b.  Mesopleura impressed, often grooved

 

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11a.  Middle coxa inserted closer to fore coxa than to hind coxa  ........... Encyrtidae  <Habits>; <Adults-1> & <Adults-2>; & <Juveniles>

 

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11b.  Middle coxa inserted closer to hind coxa  ............ Eupelmidae  (females)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

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12a.  Tarsi with 4 segments, the gaster distinctly constricted at its junction with propodeum  ........... Eulophidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

13

12b.  Tarsi with 5 segments, if rarely some tarsi have 4 segments, then gaster broadly sessile

 

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13a.  Gaster broadly sessile  .......... Aphelinidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

14

13b.  Gaster distinctly constricted at its junction with propodeum, the petiole sometimes distinct.

 

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14a.  Pronotum large, subrectangular; body does not refract light  ............. Eurytomidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

15

14b.  Pronotum different than previous (14a), if rarely rectangular, then body at least partially refracts light

 

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15a.  Fore wing with stigmal vein enlarged button-like ............ Torymidae (part:  Magastigminae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

16

15b.  Venation of forewing not as previous (15a )

 

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16a.  Dorsum of gaster occupied largely by partly fused basal tergites (separated only by a thin line) which are laterally separated, the gaster triangular in lateral view  ............ Perilampidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

17

16b.  Shape of gaster and segmentation not as previous

 

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17a.  Mesoscutum with parapsidal sulci incomplete, not reaching the posterior margin of mesoscutum  ........... Pteromalidae  (part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>   <View:  Pteromalidae Subfamiliea>

 

18

17b.  Parapsidal sulci complete

 

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18a.  Males only:  middle tibial spur strongly developed, large, straight .......... Eupelmidae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

19

18b.  Males & females:  middle tibial spur weakly developed, small

 

20

19a.  Hind coxa large, more than 3X as long as fore coxa; stigmal vein very short

 

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19b.  Hind coxa not much larger than fore coxa; stigmal vein relatively long  ........  Pteromalidae (part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>   <View:  Pteromalidae Subfamiliea>

 

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20a.  Gaster finely sculptured, smooth; ovipositor protrudes strongly  ............ Torymidae  (part)  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

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20b.  Gaster coarsely sculptured, usually pitted; ovipositor at most slightly protruding, but distal tergite often extended  .......... Ormyridae  <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

Prinsloo, G. L.  1980.  An illustrated guide to the families of African Chalcidoidea (Insecta: Hymenoptera).  Rep.

     So. AFr. Dept. Agr. & Fisheries Sci. Bull. 395.  66 p.

 

Prinsloo, G. L.  1984.  An illustrated guide to the parasitic wasps associated with citrus pests in the Republic of  

     South Africa.  Rep. So. Afr. Dept. Agr. Sci. Bull. 402.  119 p.