Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hymenoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Adults minute to small; (1.5–)3–4(–10) mm long. Solitary insects.

Head. Antennal segments (11–)12 (females), or 13 (males). Antennae geniculate.

Thorax. Pronotum short, not extending back to the tegulae. Cenchri absent. Wings present, or absent (some females). Fore-wings with a conspicuous pterostigma; with the venation well developed (but reduced apically). Closed fore-wing cells 6–10. Hind-wings without closed cells. Fore femur dilated, or not noticeably dilated. Hind femur without a well defined trochantellus. Hind tibiae with spurs specialised for a cleaning rôle (?).

Abdomen. The abdomen with a marked basal constriction. The ‘waist’ simple. Visible abdominal segments 7–8. Ovipositor of females not visibly protruding; modified as a retractable sting.

Larvae. Larvae legless or the legs vestigial; parasitic on hosts selected by the mother (being external parasites of small larvae of Lepidopera and Coleoptera).

General comments. The females with simple fore-tarsi.

British representation. Species in Britain 20; Bethylus, Cephalonomia, Epyris, Goniozus, Holepyris, Laelius, Plastanoxus, Pristocera and Pseudisobrachium.

Classification. Suborder Apocrita; Series Aculeata; Superfamily Chrysidoidea (sometimes referred to the superfamily Bethyloidea).

Illustrations. • Bethylus fuscicornis Curtis: B. Ent. 720. • Bethylus fuscicornis: B. Ent. 720, legend+text. • Bethylus fuscicornis: B. Ent. 720, text cont..

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hymenoptera. Version: 16th May 2016.’.