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Family Encyrtidae - Encyrtid Wasps

Two Millimeter Magic - Blastothrix Unknown Hymenoptera Wasp - Rhytidothorax gypsy moth egg parasitoid wasp - Ooencyrtus kuvanae Metaphycus Hymenoptera Small Fly Need Tent Wasp
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon ("Parasitica" - Parasitoid Wasps)
Superfamily Chalcidoidea (Chalcidoid Wasps)
Family Encyrtidae (Encyrtid Wasps)
Pronunciation
en-SIR-tid-ee.
Explanation of Names
Encyrtidae Walker 1837
Numbers
2 subfamilies, with >480 spp. in 150 genera in our area and >3700 spp. in 460 genera worldwide(1)
Size
most adults 2‒3 mm
Identification
One of the families with the mesopleuron as a large, convex, cushion-like region on the side of the thorax. You may or may not be able to see that the middle coxae are inserted at or even somewhat anterior to the middle of the mesopleuron whereas in other chalcidoids the middle coxae are inserted near the hind coxa, much more distant from the front coxae. It should also have transverse-triangular axillae on the scutellum. Other features include a very short marginal vein on the forewing. Note also the very long mesotibial spur. --Gary Gibson
Key to Nearctic genera in (2)
CA fauna treated in (3)
Antennae often sexually dimorphic: in females, clubbed with short setae and sometimes with flattened segments; males typically lack a club and often have long setae(segments never flattened). The taxonomy mostly based on females, In some species males unknown or extremely rare.
Range
Worldwide
Habitat
More diverse in warmer and drier areas. They can be taken from a wide variety of plants but are most common on shrubs & grasses. Malaise traps is an effective collection tool.
Food
Parasitoids of an extremely wide range of insects (one species parasitizes ticks), but scales and mealybugs (Hemiptera) are common hosts for a large number of species. They can attack the egg, larval, or adult stage, as either a primary or secondary parasitoid.(4)
Remarks
Includes many important biocontrol agents.
Specimens from most species will shrink/collapse after death, rendering identification problematic. The best way to preserve encyrtids is to keep them initially in 70‒75% ethanol, and later either critically-point dry them or treat with hexamethyldisilazine (HMDS) (toxic!).
See Also
Body colors range from drab dark-brown (or black) to orange or yellow to bright metallic green. Other chalcidoids with which they are most easily confused are the Aphelinidae (due to their general body habitus) and Eupelmidae (due to the enlarged mid-tarsal spurs and mesopleura), but encyrtids can be distinguished by their shorter (often punctiform) marginal vein. However, encyrtids are most often confused with members of the family Platygastridae that had formerly been placed under Scelionidae. Both encyrtids and "scelionids" can have a similar body habitus and forewing venation, making their separation quite difficult for the non-expert.
Print References
(5)
Internet References
Works Cited
1.Universal Chalcidoidea Database
2.Annotated Keys to the Genera of Nearctic Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera)
Gary A. Gibson, James B. Woolley, John T. Huber. 1997. Canadian Government Publishing.
3.Zuparko R. (2017-) California Encyrtidae
4.A handbook of the families of Nearctic Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera). 2nd Edition
Grissell E.E., Schauff M. E. 1997. Ent. Soc. Wash. 87pp.
5.North American encyrtid fauna (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae): taxonomic changes and new taxa
Noyes J.S., Woolley J.B. 1994. J. Nat. Hist. 28: 1327-1401.