Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hymenoptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Adults minute; 0.3–1.5 mm long.

Head. Antennal segments 9–13. Antennae geniculate (at least in females), or not geniculate.

Thorax. Pronotum usually short, not extending back to the tegulae (or sometimes longer and almost so). Cenchri absent. Wings present, or absent (at least, sometimes rudimentary or thread-like); the wings marginally very long-fringed (the fringe often longer than the width of the hind-wing); not folding longitudinally. Fore-wings without a pterostigma; with very reduced venation (even the stigmatal vein absent); not combining greatly reduced venation with conspicuous stigmal vein (stigmal vein absent). Closed fore-wing cells 0. Submarginal cells 0. Discoidal cells 0. Hind-wings linear and basally stalked or reduced to the linear stalk; without closed cells. Fore tibiae with a curved spur. Hind femur not toothed below; with a clear trochantellus. Hind tibiae not curved around the femora; without specialised spurs. Tarsi 4 segmented, or 5 segmented.

Abdomen. The abdomen with a marked basal constriction; long petiolate. The ‘waist’ simple. Visible abdominal segments not highly metallic. The gaster attached low on the propodeum. Ovipositor of females visibly protruding (sometimes very long and curled beneath the body, reaching beyond the head), or not visibly protruding; adapted for piercing.

Larvae. Larvae legless or the legs vestigial; parasitic on hosts selected by the mother (in the eggs of other insects).

General comments. The fringed wings with very reduced venation, sometimes thread-like, the hind-wings always stalked; fore-tibia with an apical spur. A family including some of the smallest of all insects.

British representation. Species in Britain 85; Alaptus, Anagrus, Anaphes, Arescon, Camptoptera, Caraphractus, Cleruchus, Dicopus, Doriclytus, Erythmelus, Eustochus, Gonatocerus, Litus, Mymar, Ooctonus, Palaeomymar, Polynema, Parallelaptera, Stephanodes, Stethynium (with Alaptus, Anaphes, Gonatocerus and Polynema well represented).

Classification. Suborder Apocrita; Series Parasitica; Superfamily Chalcidoidea.

Illustrations. • Mymar pulchellum Curtis (B. Ent. 411). • Mymar pulchellum (original genus and species descriptions: B. Ent. 411). • Mymar pulchellum: B. Ent. 411, text cont..

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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.’.