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Brief Summary

provided by Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico
~Although phytophagous chalcidoids are to be found scattered among several families, there is a higher proportion of phytophagous species in the Eurytomidae than in any other chalcidoid family. Many of the eurytomids develop in seeds, and others are gall formers. Many others, however, are parasites and some are both parasitic and phytophagous in their development. These latter begin development as parasites and then complete it as phytophagous feeders. Malyshev, 1968 (Genesis of the Hymenoptera, English translation, London, pp. 35, 53, 67), considers the Eurytomidae the most primitive family of the Chalcidoidea, and he discusses types of larval development in this family. There are very few other workers in Hymenoptera that agree with Malyshev that the Eurytomidae is the most primitive family of the Chalcidoidea; the prevailing opinion, based on both habits and morphology, is that the Torymidae is the more primitive.
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Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico. 1979. Prepared cooperatively by specialists on the various groups of Hymenoptera under the direction of Karl V. Krombein and Paul D. Hurd, Jr., Smithsonian Institution, and David R. Smith and B. D. Burks, Systematic Entomology Laboratory, Insect Identification and Beneficial Insect Introduction Institute. Science and Education Administration, United States Department of Agriculture.

Remarks

provided by Deans Deitz Wharton et al
Several species of the genus Eurytoma have been reared as larval ectoparasitoids of fruit-infesting Tephritidae, most notably in Europe and Africa, and most frequently in association with work on the olive fly, Bactrocera oleae (Rossi). For example, Silvestri (1914) reported Bactrocera oleae (Rossi) as a host for Eurytoma rosae Nees in Italy. Also, Eurytoma cf. martelli has been collected from Rhagoletis berberidis infesting Berberis in Europe (Hoffmeister 1992). More recently, Eurytoma sivinskii has been described from Mexico and investigated as a parasitoid of tephritid pests in the genus Anastrepha. Details can be found on the page for this species.

The species attacking fruit-infesting tephritids have generally been characterized as polyphagous. Caution should also be exercised when attempting to determine hosts of Eurytoma since some species are known to be phytophagous.

Both Eurytoma oleae Silvestri and Sycophila aethiopica (Silvestri) have been reared from cultivated olives in South Africa (Neuenschwander 1982). Both Silvestri (1915) and Neuenschwander (1982) noted that Eurytoma oleae developed on the seeds of olives and is thus phytophagous. Sycophila aethiopica, on the other hand, is most likely to be a parasitoid of seed-infesting chalcidoids, as is Eurytoma varicolor Silvestri (Silvestri 1915).

Members of the genus Eurytoma are exceptionally difficult to identify to species, but the family can be readily recognized by the quadrate, usually deeply pitted pronotum (Fig. 1) and general habitus (Fig. 2).

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Eurytomidae

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The Eurytomidae are a family within the superfamily Chalcidoidea. The group is apparently polyphyletic, though the different subfamilies may each be monophyletic, and may be elevated to family status in the near future. As presently defined, some 1420 species in 87 genera are described.

Unlike most chalcidoids, the larvae of many are phytophagous (feeding in stems, seeds, or galls), while others are more typical parasitoids, though even then the hosts are usually found within plant tissues. They are found throughout the world in virtually all habitats, and a few are considered pests.

They tend to be dull and not metallic, and heavily punctured, with very thick, collar-like pronota, but none of these characters is unique within the Chalcidoidea, nor do they appear to define a natural group, and the family is likely to be divided.

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E. gigantea, adult female

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