Gasteruptiidae is represented by perhaps 1500-2000 species worldwide (Jennings and Austin 2002), of which about 500 are described. It is divided into three subfamilies:
- Kotujellitinae - fossil subfamily containing two monotypic genera fromthe Late Cretaceous of northern Siberia and the mid-Early Cretaceousof Mongolia (Basibuyuk et al. 2002)
- Gasteruptiinae - extant subfamily with one genus (Jennings and Austin 2000)
- Hyptiogastrinae - extant subfamily with two genera (Jennings and Austin 2000)
The larvae of Gasteruptiidae are reported to be predators or predator-inquilines of various solitary bees and wasps (e.g. Höppner 1904; Malyshev 1966; Carlson 1979, Jennings and Austin 2004). Various authors have used the term secondary cleptoparasitoid (synonymous with predator-inquiline) (see Valentine and Walker 1991) or ectoparasitoid (synonymous with predator) (see Prinsloo 1985) when referring to gasteruptiids.
These are large slender wasps, resembling Ichneumonid wasps in appearance. They are dark, long, and slender, with small patches of yellow or red on the abdomen. Wild Carrot wasps invade the nests of other wasps and bees, where their larvae are parasitoid on these host insects. As the common name suggests, they obtain nectar from members of the Carrot family, but are not often observed.
Ichneumonidae (Ichneumonid Wasps)
These are dark slender wasps with very narrow waists, usually fairly large, with long ovipositors. Most species don't have stingers. They are parasitoid on beetle larvae, sawfly larvae, and other kinds of insects; each species is host specific. They don't construct special brood nests, instead flying off after laying their eggs on the host insect. There are many known species, and even more waiting to be identified. They visit flowers for nectar, favoring members of the Carrot family.
Gasteruptiidae is one on the most easily recognised families of parasitic wasps. They are particularly distinctive because of their slender, subclavate metasoma (see title illustrations), the dorsal articulation of the metasoma to the propodeum (see the Evanioidea page), the elongate, neck-like propleura, and expanded hind tibia.
Evolution and Systematics
Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships
In a recent phylogenetic analysis by Jennings & Austin (2000), Gasteruptiinae (Gasteruption) was shown to be a monophyletic group and the sister to Hyptiogastrinae. Jennings & Austin (2002) examined internal relationships within Hyptiogastrinae and recognised just two genera; Hyptiogaster Kieffer which includes all taxa with an exserted ovipositor, and its sister genus Pseudofoenus Kieffer, representing all remaining Hyptiogastrinae (i.e. those with a short and hidden ovipositor).
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
|Specimen Records:||285||Public Records:||4|
|Specimens with Sequences:||209||Public Species:||2|
|Specimens with Barcodes:||199||Public BINs:||3|
|Species With Barcodes:||45|
Locations of barcode samples
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (June 2012)|
The Gasteruptiidae are one of the more distinctive families among the apocritan wasps, with surprisingly little variation in appearance for a group that contains around 500 species in 9 genera worldwide. The propleura form an elongated "neck", the petiole attaches very high on the propodeum, and the hind tibiae are swollen and club-like. The females commonly have long ovipositors, and lay eggs in the nests of solitary bees and wasps, where their larvae prey upon the host larvae and provisions.
The absence of "teeth" on the crown of the head and the somewhat thickened antennae readily separate these wasps from those in the unrelated family Stephanidae, which also contains very slender wasps with long necks.