Chalcid wasps (Chalcididae) are mainly parasitoids, meaning their larvae are parasites that eventually kill their hosts. They are found worldwide, although they are predominantly tropical.
Chalcid wasps are small, about 6 mm in length. They range in color from black, with white or yellow marks, to yellow. They are robust with enlarged hind legs, and a flat forewing.
Chalcid wasps are predominantly solitary, although a few species may be gregarious. These parasitoids most often attack pupae of moths, butterflies (Lepidoptera), and flies (Diptera), but occasionally sawflies, wasps, bees, ants (Hymenoptera), and beetles (Coleoptera). Females lay up to 200 eggs. These eggs are deposited into fully grown hosts, like mature larvae, or young pupae. Eggs pupate and feed and grow inside the host pupa. Most chalcid wasps then overwinter as adult females or as mature larvae in the host organism.
Although chalcid wasps are not known for their pollination services, studies have documented various species of chalcid wasps visiting flowers and perhaps contributing to pollination of the plants. Plants visited include acacias (Acacia spp.) by chalcid wasps in the Hockeria genus, kudzu (Pueraria montana) by Conura amoena, Sacramento burbark (Triumfetta semitriloba), and mango (Mangifera indica).
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