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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 Superfamilies, Families and Some Subfamilies

 of Parasitic Hymenoptera

 

(Email Contacts)

 

(Derived from V. A. Trjapitzin, 1982 by S. V. Trjapitzin & E. F. Legner)

 

[This key is in a form commonly used in Eastern Europe.  If the statement is true, proceed to the next line, whereas if it is false, go to the line shown in parentheses]

 

          (Note:  Not all illustrations are European species):

 

 

1 (10).    Hind wings with anal lobe

 

2 (5).    Hind wings with 1-2 closed cells; abdominal segment 1 separated ventrally from the 2nd segmentby a deep groove; abdomen glittering, sparsely setose, its middle part widest ........... (Scolioidea)   <Overview>]

 

3 (4).    Fore wings with an unclear pterostigma; last visible sternite of male extended into 3 spines; eyes kidney-shaped; females always winged; larval parasitoids of lamellicorn beetles ........... (Scolioidea) [Some place in Vespoidea] .......... Scoliidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

4 (3).    Fore wings with a clear pterostigma; last visible sternite of male with a hooked spine; eyes not kidney-shaped; females sometimes wingless; larval parasitoids of lamellicorn beetles ............ Vespoidea  (= Tiphioidea)  .......... Tiphiidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

5 (2).    Hind wings without closed cells.

 

6 (7).    Abdomen 3-4, seldom with 5 segments, concave ventrally, so that the insect can roll itself into a ball; fore wings with a more complicated venation; body color brilliant, metallic; body length 2-15 mm; in nests of solitary bees & wasps  .............  Chrysidoidea (= Bethyloidea) .......... Chrysididae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

7 (6).    Abdomen with 7-8 segments; fore wings with 2 elongated cells at base and a small pterostigma  ..........  Chrysidoidea (= Bethyloidea)   <Overview>

 

8 (9).    Head prognathous; antennae with 12-13 segments, attached at oral margin; legs not long, fore tarsi with simple claws; wings sometimes not developed; body usually black, seldom brown, 1-8 mm long; larval parasitoids of Coleoptera & less frequently Lepidoptera ........... Chrysidoidea  (= Bethyloidea) .......... Bethylidae   <Overview>

 

9 (8).    Head hypognathous; antennae with 10 segments, attached at margin of clypeus; legs thin, with mobile claws; wings often not developed; body ginger, brown to black, 2-8 mm long; parasitoids of leafhoppers .............  Chrysidoidea  (= Bethyloidea) .......... Dryinidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

10 (1).    Hind wings without anal lobe, with almost straight posterior margin.

 

11 (16).    Fore wings usually with several closed cells and pterostigma; antennae not geniculate (= elbowed),  multisegmented; body black, ginger or often with light spots ........... (Ichneumonoidea)   <Overview>

 

12 (13).    Fore wings with 2nd nrs-vein; junction between abdominal segments 2 and 3 mobile; body length averages 10-25 mm; parasitoids in pupae of Lepidoptera, larvae of Coleoptera; puparia of Diptera, often in pupae of Hymenoptera & spider cocoons ............ (Ichneumonoidea) .......... Ichneumonidae   <Habits>; <Adults-1> & <Adults-2> & <Adults-3>; & <Juveniles>

 

13 (12).    Fore wings without 2nd nrs-vein.

 

14 (15).    Abdominal segments 1-3 short, sometimes only segment 1 longer; junction between abdominal segments 2 & 3 immobile; fore wing venation usually more complicated; body length averages 5-15 mm; parasitoids in larvae of Lepidoptera & Coleoptera (sometimes in adult beetles), puparia of Diptera  .......... (Ichneumonoidea)  Braconidae   <Habits>; <Adults-1> & <Adults-2> & <Adults-3>

 

15 (14).    Abdominal segments 1-3 long; junction between abdominal segments 2 & 3 mobile; fore wing venation usually less complicated; body usually not longer than 5 mm; parasitoids in aphids .......... (Ichneumonoidea)   Aphidiidae  (Aphidiinae) <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>  

 

16 (11).    Fore wing venation usually reduced, often without closed cells [in Cynipoidea, however, at least with a closed radial cell, in some Proctotrupoidea with several closed cells; antennae with not more than 18 segments.

 

17 (40).    Mesoscutum reaches tegulae laterally; body mostly black or brown.

 

18 (25).    Thorax humped, with scutellum strongly convex, often with deep sculpturing; antennae not geniculate, with 11-18 segments; abdomen compressed laterally; fore wing without pterostigma, with few cells ........... (Cynipoidea)   <Overview>

 

19 (20).    Abdomen long, foliaceous (leaf-shaped); radial cell of fore wing not less than 9X longer than wide; 2nd segment of hind tarsi with an obtuse spine; thorax with transverse lines dorsally; body ginger or black, 7-14 mm long; larval parasitoids of horntails ........... (Cynipoidea) .......... Ibaliidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

20 (19).    Abdomen shorter, not foliaceous; radial cell of fore wing markedly shorter; 2nd segment of hind  tarsi without an obtuse spine; body less than 7 mm long.

 

21 (22).    Scutellum with a medial elevated, sharply limited rounded or oval, bowl-like formation; body black, 0.8-

4.5mm long; parasitoids in puparia of Diptera  ......... (Cynipoidea) .......... Cynipidae (Eucoilinae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

22 (21).    Scutellum without a medial bowl-like formation.

 

23 (24).    First abdominal tergite of female short laterally, usually less than 1/2 length of abdomen; body more slender, black, 1.5-5.0 mm long; parasitoids in pupae of Diptera, larvae of Coleoptera, sometimes in cocoons of Neuroptera . ........... (Cynipoidea) .......... Figitidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

24 (23).    First abdominal tergite of female laterally at least equal to 1/2 length of abdomen; body usually shorter and more solid, black or brown, 1.0-1.75 mm long; scutellum usually smooth, seldom pitted at base; secondary parasitoids of aphids ........... (Cynipoidea) .......... Alloxystidae (= part of Cynipidae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

25 (18).    Thorax not humped; antennae usually geniculate, with not more than 16 segments; body usually black; ore wing venation variable, sometimes with pterostigma or closed cells ............ (Proctotrupoidea  <Overview> & Ceraphronoidea)   <Overivew>

 

26 (29).    Abdomen fringed laterally, or with a sharp margin; antennae attached at oral foramen.

 

27 (28).    Fore wings with developed marginal and radial veins; antennae with 11-12, seldom 10, segments; body 0.6-6.0 mm long; parasitoids in eggs of Lepidoptera, Hemiptera, Tabanidae, Orthoptera & spiders ............. (Proctotrupoidea) .......... Scelionidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

28 (27).    Fore wing venation almost absent; antennae with 7-10 segments; body 0.5-3.0 mm long; parasitoids in gall flies (often polyembryonic), seldom parasitoids of whiteflies & mealybugs ........... (Proctotrupoidea) .......... Platygastridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

29 (26).    Abdomen rounded laterally, not fringed or without a sharp margin.

 

30 (33).    Antennae attached at frontal projection; fore wings without pterostigma ............ (Proctotrupoidea)--  Diapriidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

31 (32).    Female antennae with 11-13 segments, male antennae with 13-14 segments; fore wings with a strongly shortened venation; body 1-5 mm long; parasitoids in larvae & puparia of Diptera, sometimes in ant nests. .......... (Chalcidoidea) .......... Pteromalidae (Diparinae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

32 (31).    Female antennae with 15, seldom 14, segments, male antennae with 14 segments; fore wings with a more developed venation; body 2.0-5.5 mm long; parasitoids in puparia of Diptera .......... (Proctotrupoidea) .......... Diapriidae (Belytinae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

33 (30).    Antennae usually attached close to oral foramen

 

34 (37).    Fore wings usually with pterostigma, often with closed cells; antennae usually not geniculate

 

35 (36).    Antennae with 13 segments; fore wings with a vein along pterostigma; ovipositor often long; body 2-8 mm long; parasitoids in larvae of Coleoptera ............ (Proctotrupoidea) .......... Proctotrupidae   <Habits>; <Adults> &  <Juveniles>

 

36 (35).    Antennae with 16 segments; fore wings with 2 large cells; ovipositor not projecting; body 4.0-6.5 mm long; parasitoids in larvae of Neuroptera ............ (Proctotrupoidea) ..........  Heloridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

37 (34).    Fore wings usually often without pterostigma; if with pterostigma, then venation strongly reduced;  antennae geniculate ........... (Ceraphronoidea)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

38 (39).    Fore wings without pterostigma; female antennae with 9-10 segments, male antennae with 10-11 segments; body 0.5-2.5 mm long; parasitoids in gall flies, sometimes in ant nests ........... (Ceraphronoidea) ..........  Ceraphronidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

39 (38).    Fore wings with a large pterostigma; antennae with 11 segments in both sexes; body 1.0-4.5 mm long; parasitoids in aphids, coccids (secondary parasitoids), gall flies, Syrphidae & sometimes in ant nests ............ (Ceraphronoidea) .......... Megaspilidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

40 (17).    Mesoscutum not reaching tegulae laterally; fore wing venation without closed cells; antennae usually geniculate, not more than 13 segments, usually with 1-3 ring segments ........... (Chalcidoidea)   <Overview>

 

41 (44).    Species very small, often less than 1 mm long; egg parasitoids.

 

42 (43).    Tarsi with 3 segments; fore wings short, wide, setae arranged in rows, or narrower with a long fringe; antennae with 5-9 segments & with ring segments; body yellow or brown, 0.4-1.2 mm long; parasitoids in eggs of Lepidoptera, Hemiptera, Cicadellidae, Coleoptera & other insects ........... (Chalcidoidea) .......... Trichogrammatidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniiles>

 

43 (42).    Tarsi with 4-5 segments; fore wings narrow, with a long fringe, venation almost lacking, hind wings linear or setiform; antennae long, with 8-13 segments, without ring segments; female antennae often with a large nonsegmented club, male antennae filiform; body black, seldom brown, 0.2-1.4 mm long; parasitoids in eggs of Odonata, Cicadellidae, Hemiptera, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera & other insects ............. (Chalcidoidea) ...........  Mymaridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

44 (41).    Species larger, seldom less than 1 mm long.

 

45 (50).    Hind femora strongly dilated, with spines along lower margin; hind tibiae curved.

 

46 (47).    Fore wings folded longitudinally as in wasps; ovipositor long, curved onto dorsal surface of abdomen ;  body black with yellow or orange spots, 6-16 mm long; parasitoids in nests of solitary bees & wasps ............. (Chalcidoidea) ...........  Leucospidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

47 (46).    Fore wings not folded longitudinally; if long then ovipositor straight.

 

48 (49).    Ovipositor long, thin, longer than body; propodeum with a Y-shaped keel; body metallic, 3-4 mm long; parasitoids in egg cases of Mantidae ............ (Chalcidoidea) ...........   Torymidae  (genus Podagrion)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

49 (48).    Ovipositor usually not projecting or covered at base by a long distal abdominal tergite; body black, sometimes brown or with yellow and orange spots, 3-12 mm long; parasitoids in pupae of Lepidoptera, puparia of Diptera, seldom in larvae & pupae of Coleoptera ............ (Chalcidoidea)  .......... Chalcididae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

50 (45).    Hind femora not dilated strongly; hind tibiae straight.

 

51 (54).    Hind coxae large, 3-edged, usually considerably larger than fore coxae.

 

52 (53).    Abdomen somewhat oval, often with smooth, glittering tergites; ovipositor long; body metallic, 1.5-7.0 mm long; parasitoids in galls of gall flies & wasps, in pupae of Lepidoptera, puparia of Diptera, seldom in larvae & pupae of Coleoptera  .......... (Chalcidoidea) ...........  Torymidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

53 (52).    Abdomen elongated, acute apically; tergites with a convex characteristic sculpturing; ovipositor slightly projecting, covered at base by a long distal abdominal tergite; body metallic, 1.5-7.5 mm long; parasitoids in galls of Cynipoidea  ............ (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Ormyridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

54 (51).    Hind coxae usually slightly larger than fore coxae.

 

55 (58).    Thorax strongly convex, often markedly larger than abdomen.

 

56 (57).    Abdomen with an unclear or short petiole; two 1st abdominal tergites long, often hiding other tergites; scutellum not strongly convex, rounded at apex or with small spines; fore wings with postmarginal and radial veins rather long; body usually metallic, seldom yellow or black, 1.5-5.0 mm long, seldom up to 8.0 mm long; parasitoids in puparia of Diptera & cocoons of Hymenoptera & Neuroptera ........... (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Perilampidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

57 (56).    Abdomen with a long petiole; 1st abdominal tergite long, usually hiding other tergites; scutellum strongly convex, often with long spines at apex; fore wings with postmarginal and radial veins very short; antennae not geniculate; body usually metallic, seldom yellow, 3-7 mm long; parasitoids in ant nests  (Chalcidoidea) ...........  Eucharitidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

58 (56).    Thorax less strongly convex, usually not larger than abdomen.

 

59 (62).    Mesopleura convex, whole; middle tibiae usually with a thick and long spur.

 

60 (61).    Mesoscutum convex, usually without parapsides; fore wings usually with a short marginal vein; funicle not less than 7 segments; tarsi with 5, seldom 4, segments; body metallic, sometimes yellow or brown to black, 1-3 mm long, seldom less than 1 mm long; parasitoids in coccids, seldom in eggs of Lepidoptera, Hemiptera, Coleoptera; in egg cases of cockroaches; in larvae & pupae of Coleoptera, puparia of Diptera, larvae of Neuroptera; in Psillidae; secondary parasitoids of aphids; polyembryonic parasitoids n larvae of Lepidoptera, in nymphs of ticks ...... (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Encyrtidae   <Adults-1> & <Adults-2>; & <Juveniles>

 

61 (60).    Female mesoscutum flat or compressed, with unclear parapsides; male mesoscutum sometimes convex, with complete parapsides and compressed mesopleura; fore wings with a long marginal vein, sometimes shortened; funicle with 7 segments; tarsi with 5 segments; body metallic, 2.3-10.0 mm long; parasitoids in eggs of Lepidoptera, Hemiptera & Cicadidae, in coccids, larvae & pupae of Coleoptera, galls of gall flies, gall wasps & sawflies, in puparia of Diptera (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Eupelmidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

62 (59).    Mesopleura with a furrow or impression, not convex; if long, then spur on middle tibiae not thick.

 

63 (64).    Antennae with 2-4 ring segments and a long unsegmented club, without a funicle; middle tibiae with a long serrated spur; body black, seldom yellow, flattened, usually ca. 1 mm long; parasitoids in coccids & puparia of Leucospis flies, often as secondary parasitoids ...........  (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Signiphoridae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

64 (63).    Antennae usually with funicular segments and a not long, frequently 3-segmented club; middle tibiae with a shorter, not serrated spur.

 

65 (76).    Axillae not projecting forward beyond the line between tegulae; tarsi usually with 5 segments; antennae with more than 10 segments; fore tibiae with a thicker curved spur.

 

66 (71).    Pronotum usually long, rectangular or narrowing anteriorly.

 

67 (68).    Pronotum rectangular; female abdomen slightly compressed laterally, with the last tergite slightly elevated; male abdomen rounded, with a long petiole; body black, seldom yellow or yellow-spotted, 1.5-4.5 mm, sometimes up to 6.0 mm long; parasitoids in larvae of beetles, galls of gall flies, gall wasps & sawflies, in puparia of Diptera, pupae of Hymenoptera; many species are phytophagous ...........  (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Eurytomidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

68 (67).    Pronotum often narrowing anteriorly; if rectangular, then body metallic; abdomen sometimes with a marked petiole ............ (Chalcidoidea) .......... Pteromalidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

69 (70).    Pronotum narrowing anteriorly; mesoscutum with marked parapsides; fore wings with a long marginal vein and short radial and postmarginal veins; antennal funicle with 5-7 segments, club usually not segmented; body black, 1.5-3.5 mm long; parasitoids in puparia of Diptera ...........  (Chalcidoidea) ...........Pteromalidae (Spalangiinae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

70 (69).    Pronotum rectangular, narrowing anteriorly, or clearly longer than wide; mesoscutum usually with marked, not always complete parapsides; fore femora sometimes thickened; ovipositor sometimes projecting; antennae with 11-13 segments; body metallic, 2-5 mm long, seldom shorter; parasitoids in larvae of wood-damaging beetles ........... (Chalcidoidea)  ..........  Pteromalidae (Cleonyminae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

71 (66).    Pronotum usually short, transverse.

 

72 (73).    Abdomen with a marked petiole; antennae attached at middle of face; marginal vein often longer than  radial vein; postmarginal vein long; hind tibiae usually with 2 spurs; body metallic, 1.5-5.0 mm long; parasitoids in puparia of Diptera; secondary parasitoids of aphids; in eggs of silkworm moths, in coccids ........... (Chalcidoidea)  ..........  Pteromalidae (Miscogasterinae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

73 (72).    Abdomen without a marked petiole.

 

74 (75).    Parapsides complete; antennae attached often at oral margin, usually with less than 13 segments; scutellum sometimes long, strongly projecting backwards; body black or metallic, 1-4 mm long; parasitoids in coccids  ...........  (Chalcidoidea)  ..........  Pteromalidae (Eunotinae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

75 (74).    Parapsides marked only anteriorly; antennae with 13 segments, with 2-3 ring segments; hind tibiae more frequently with 1 spur; body usually metallic, 2-6 mm long; parasitoids in larvae & pupae of beetles, particularly bark beetles, in puparia of gall flies & other Diptera, pupae of Lepidoptera, cocoons of Hymenoptera, often in eggs of beetles, in galls of Cynipoidea  ..........  (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Pteromalidae (Pteromalinae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

76 (65).    Axillae usually projecting forward beyond the line between tegulae; tarsi usually with 4 segments; antennae usually with not more than 10 segments; fore tibiae with a thinner straight spur.

 

77 (78).    Hind coxae large, disc-shaped, dilated; tarsi long, with 4-5 segments; male antennae often ramose; body black, seldom yellow or with metallic lustre, 1.3-3.0 mm long; parasitoids in pupae of Lepidoptera & Hymenoptera, in puparia of Diptera  ...........   (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Elasmidae        <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

78 (77).    Hind coxae not disc-shaped, slightly larger than fore coxae.

 

79 (80).    Abdomen with a broad base; tarsi with 4-5 segments; body yellow or brown, seldom black, 0.5-1.8 mm long; parasitoids in coccids (mostly armored scales), whiteflies, aphids; in eggs of grasshoppers & leafhoppers  ............ (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Aphelinidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

80 (79).    Abdomen with a narrow base or a marked petiole; tarsi more frequently with 4 segments; body metallic, seldom yellow or black, usually longer than 1 mm.

 

81 (82).    Female tarsi with 5 segments, male tarsi more frequently with 4 segments; antennae with 11-12 segments (without ring segments); parapsides complete; axillae not clearly projecting forward; body metallic, 1-3 mm long; parasitoids in eggs of sawflies, beetles, in puparia of Diptera  ...........  (Chalcidoidea) .......... Tetracampidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

82 (81).    Tarsi always with 4 segments; axillae usually clearly projecting forward....(Chalcidoidea) ..........  Eulophidae   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

83 (88).    Submarginal vein broken as passing into marginal vein.

 

84 (85).    Postmarginal vein not developed; mesoscutum usually with a fine medial longitudinal line; scutellum often with 2 longitudinal lines; axillae strongly projecting forward; body metallic, often yellow, with yellow spots, brown or black, 1-4 mm long; parasitoids in pupae of Lepidoptera and sawflies; in puparia of Diptera; in gall flies; in larvae, pupae and eggs of Coleoptera, & in other insects  ..........  (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Eulophidae (Tetrastichinae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

85 (84).    Fore wings usually with postmarginal vein; mesoscutum usually without a fine medial longitudinal line.

 

86 (87).    Mesoscutum with fine and somewhat straight parapsides; body 1-4 mm long; larval parasitoids of Cerambycidae, Buprestidae, sawflies and some Lepidoptera; sometimes secondary parasitoids ............ (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Eulophidae (Euderinae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

87 (86).    Mesoscutum with deep and curved parapsides or impressions; parapsidesusually clear anteriorly and as a groove posteriorly; body usually metallic, 1-4 mm long; parasitoids in eggs and larvae of Coleoptera; galls of gall flies; mines of Diptera, Lepidoptera and Coleoptera; in thrips; pupae of Hymenoptera; in whiteflies ........... (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Eulophidae (Entedontinae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

88 (83).    Submarginal vein passing into marginal vein smoothly and without a break, usually longer than marginal vein; postmarginal vein usually not developed.

 

89 (90).    Mesoscutum with deep parapsides reaching its posterior margin; abdomen usually with a marked petiole; male antennae not ramose; body black, often with yellow or orange spots or almost completely yellow, seldom metallic, 1-4 mm long; parasitoids in mines of Lepidoptera & Coleoptera; on larvae of Lepidoptera; in galls of Cynipoidea. ........... (Chalcidoidea) ..........  Eulophidae (Elachertinae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

90 (89).    Mesoscutum usually with only faintly marked parapsides; abdomen usually without a marked petiole; male antennae often ramose; body metallic, sometimes yellow or black, 1-4 mm long; parasitoids in mines of Lepidoptera & Diptera; in cocoons & mines of sawflies; on larvae of Lepidoptera ...........  (Chalcidoidea) ...........  Eulophidae (Eulophinae)   <Habits>; <Adults> & <Juveniles>

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

Trjapitzin, V. A.  1982.  A key for identification of superfamilies, families and some subfamilies of parasitic

     Hymenoptera, p. 237-54.  In:  V. A. Trjapitzin, V. A. Shapiro & V. A. Scheptilnikova (eds.), Parasites and 

     Predators of Agricultural Crop Pests, 2nd ed.  Kolos Publ., Leningrad.  256 p.