HYMENOPTERA, Platygastridae [= Platygasteridae (Westwood 1840)] (Platygastroidea).----
Platygastridae (= Platygasteridae) -- These are tiny, shining-black insects with sparce wing venation so that they resemble chalcids. The antennae usually have 10 segments and are attached very low on the face, next to the clypeus . Most species are parasitoids of the larvae of Cecidomylidae. Platygdster hiemalis Forbes has been successfully deployed as a biological control the Hessian fly. Polyembryony occurs in some species, with as many as 20 progeny emanating from one egg.
This is a large group of ca. 1120 species) of parasitoid wasps, mostly very small (1.1-2.2 mm), black, and shining,. Their antennae are elbowed an 8-segmented flagellum. The wings usually have no venation, but there may be some fringes of setae.
There are two subfamilies, the Platygastrinae and the Sceliotrachelinae. The former subfamily includes ca. 42 genera, all of which are koinobionts on cecidomyiid flies. Oviposition is in the host's egg or early instar larva, and the wasp larva completes development when the host reaches the prepupal or pupal stage. The latter subfamily is smaller, including ca 22 genera. They regularly have a rudimentary vein in the forewings. They are commonly idiobionts, which attack the eggs of beetles and Hemiptera.
Most of the platygasterids are of average appearance, but the genus Inostemma is different in that there is a long structure that arises from the dorsum of the first abdominal segment that serves as a sheath for the ovipositor.
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