is a large family of parasitic wasps
, with some 3710 described species in about 455 genera
. The larvae
of the majority are primary parasitoids
, though other hosts are attacked, and details of the life history can be variable (e.g., some attack eggs, some attack larvae, others are hyperparasites
, and some Encyrtidae develop as parasitoids of ticks
). They are found throughout the world in virtually all habitats, and are extremely important as biological control
agents. They may also present as an ecological threat to the population of some species. For example, the endangered Papilio homerus
butterfly is parasitized at a rate of 77%.
Parasitic wasps are the main contributor to egg mortality in the butterfly species.
Some species exhibit a remarkable developmental phenomenon called "polyembryony
", in which a single egg multiplies clonally in the host and produces large numbers of identical adult wasps. Even more remarkably, some of the larvae are larger than the others and act in a similar way to the "soldiers" of eusocial
insects, attacking any other wasp larvae already in the body of the host, and dying without reproducing ("altruism
Wasps in this family are relatively easy to separate from other Chalcidoidea
by features of the wing venation, the migration of the cerci
forwards on the metasoma
(and accompanying distortion of the tergites
), and a greatly enlarged mesopleuron
with anteriorly positioned mesocoxae.
Encyrtid thorax; "h" is the mesopleuron
- ^ Garraway, Eric; Bailey, A. J. A.; Freeman, B. E.; Parnell, J. R.; Emmel, T. C. (2008). Insect Conservation and Islands. Springer, Dordrecht. pp. 189–203. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-8782-0_16. ISBN 9781402087813.
- ^ Simutnik, S.A. (2014). "The first record of Encyrtidae (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea) from the Sakhalin amber". Paleontological Journal. 48 (6): 621–623. doi:10.1134/s0031030114060124. S2CID 86655697.
Last edited on 26 February 2021, at 09:46
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