Members of this superfamily are usually either primary or secondary parasitoids. The hosts are Braconidae that attack aphids (secondary parasitism), Neuroptera, predatory gall midges, coccids, Mecoptera, gall wasps and coccinellids. There were more than 22 genera known as of 2000.
This is a small Hymenopteran superfamily that includes only two families, and a total of ca. 811 species, though a great many species are still undescribed. It is a little-known group as a whole, and most are believed to be parasitoids or hyperparasitoids.
The two families are unified by several characters, the most visible of which is that the wing venation is greatly reduced in a very specific and unique way; the costal and radial veins have fused so there is no costal cell, there is a short break at the stigma, and the only vein in the wing membrane itself is the radial sector, which is short and curved. arising from the stigma.
Included are two families of small parasitoids with a body length of about 2.8-3.2 mm. The color is black, infrequently chocolate to rusty or yellow (Alekseev 1978/1987). The antennae are geniculate, with 7-11 segments and attached slightly above clypeus. The basal antennal segment is usually the longest segment. The sides of the pronotum extend to the tegulae. The mesonotum has a transverse groove along the posterior margin, and there is sometimes one median groove, and two parapsidal grooves. The axillae are well developed and separated from the shield by a V-shaped suture, the frenum. The venation of the wings is simple. Some have reduced wings especially females. The abdomen has rounded sides. In the Ceraphronidae the Waterston organ occurs on the anterior middle of the 4th abdominal tergite, and partially on the posterior part of the 3rd tergite (Alekseev 1978/1987). This is a small compact formation with a veined sculpture (the Waterston organ is usually invisible in elongated abdominal tergites). The ovipositor extends beyond the tip of the abdomen and is usually retracted (Alekseev 1978/1987).
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Alekseev, V. N. 1978/1987. Superfamily Ceraphronoidea (Ceraphronoids). In: G. S. Medvedev (ed.) 1987, Keys to the Insects of the European Part of the USSR. Vol. 3 Hymenoptera, Pt. 2. Akad. Nauk., Zool. Inst., Leningrad, SSSR. (trans. fr. Russian, Amerind. Publ. Co., Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi). 1341 p.
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