Chalcididae. -- 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.
They are a moderate-sized family within the Chalcidoidea, composed mostly of parasitoids and a few hyperparasitoids. The family is believed to be polyphyletic, though the different subfamilies may each be monophyletic, and some may be elevated to family status in the near future. As presently defined, there are over 87 genera and over 1458 species worldwide. They are often black with yellow, red, or white markings, rarely brilliantly metallic, with a robust mesosoma and very strong sculpturing. The hind femora are often greatly enlarged, with a row of teeth or serrations along the lower margin.
One of the more remarkable uses of the muscular hind legs is the species Lasiochalcidia igiliensis, which attacks the dangerous, predatory larvae of ant lions, holding the mandibles of the larva spread apart while the wasp carefully injects an egg into the membrane of the exposed throat.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Boucek, Z. 1988. Australasian Chalcidoidea, a biosystematic revision of genera of fourteen families, with a reclassification of species. CAB Internatl., Wallingford, UK. 832 p.
Boucek, Z. 1951 (1952). The first revision of the European species of the family Chalcididae (Hymenoptera). Acta. Ent. Mus. Natl. Prague 27: 1-108.
Boucek, Z. & T. C. Narendran. 1981. Indian chalcid wasps (Hymenoptera) of the genus Dirhinus parasitic on synanthropic and other Diptera. Syst. Ent. 6: 229-51.
Burks, B. D. 1940. Revision of the chalcid-flies of the Tribe Chalcidini in America north of Mexico. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 88: 237-354.
Burks, B. D. 1947. Nearctic species of the genus Dirhinus (Hymenoptera, Chalcididae). Proc. Ent. Soc. Wash. 49(5): 136-40.
Burks, B. D. 1959. The North American species of Trigonura (Hymenoptera, Chalcididae). Ann. Ent. Soc. Amer. 52: 75-81.
Burks, B. D. 1960. A revision of the genus Brachymeria Westwood in America north of Mexico (Hymenoptera: Chalcididae). Trans. Amer. Ent. Soc. 86: 225-73.
Burks, B. D. 1979. pp. 1-1198. In: Krombein et al., Catalog of Hymenoptera in America. Symphyta and Apocrita (Parasitica). Smithsonian Inst. Press., Wash., D.C. Vol. 1.
Clausen, C. P. 1940. Entomophagous Insects. McGraw-Hill Book Co., NY. 688 p.
Habu, A. 1960. A revision of the Chalcididae (Hymenoptera) of Japan, with descriptions of sixteen new species. Bull. Natn. Inst. Agr. Sci., Tokyo (C) 11: 218-96.
Masi, L. 1916. Calcididi del Giglio. Prima serie: Toryminae, Leucospidinae, Chalcidinae, Eurytominae partim. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. Genova 47: 54-122.
Masi, L. 1929a. Contributo alla conoscenza del Calcidi oriental; della sottofamiglia Chalcidinae. Boll. Lab. Ent. R. 1st Sup. Agr. Bologna 2: 155-88.
Masi, L. 1929b. Contributo alla conoscenza del species etiopiche di Brachymeria (Gen. Chalcis Auct.). mem. Soc. Ent. Ital. 8: 114-44.
Narendran, T. C. 1988. Family Chalcididae. In: B. R. Subba-Rao, & M. Hayat (eds.), Oriental Insects, Vol. 19. Association For The Study of Oriental. Insects, Gainesville, FL. 329 p.
Nikol'skaya, M. N. 1978/1987. Family Chalcididae (Chalcidids). 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.
Prinsloo, G. L. 1980. An illustrated guide to the families of African Chalcidoidea (Insecta: Hymenoptera). Rep. So. Africa, Dept. Agr. & Fisheries Sci. Bull. 395. 66 p.
Steffan, J. R. 1951. les espèces francaises d'Haltichellinae (Hym., Chalcididae). Feuille Nat. 6: 17, 81-85.
Steffan, J. R. 1953. Les espèces francaises d'Haltichellinae (Hyménoptères, Chalcididae). Cha. Nat. (n.s.) 8: 7-12, 33-6.
Yoshimoto, C. M. 1984. The Insects and Arachnids of Canada. Part 12. The Families and Subfamilies of Canadian Chalcidoid Wasps, Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea. Biosystematics Res. Inst., Ottawa, Ontario, Res. Br. Agr. Canada Publ. 1760. 149 p.