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Teeniest Hymenopteran Ever

Teeniest Hymenopteran Ever
Belle Haven Park, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA
August 26, 2009
I went back to the park and collected the leaf with these hoppers and their eggs on it. When I was home looking at them, I saw this teeny speck moving on the leaf. Thinking it might be a nymph, I took its picture. To my surprise just now when I looked, it was a little tiny wasp! And now that I look at that linked photo again, I think that little yellow creature on the eggs is the same wasp, or one of its brethren. Is it parasitizing the eggs?

Images of this individual: tag all
Teeniest Hymenopteran Ever Teeniest Hymenopteran Ever

opinion of J.D. Pinto:
"Can't be sure of genus from photo - and wasp not necessarily a parasite of eggs shown unless emergence or stinging was observed."

darn. It certainly was very interested in those eggs. Wonder if I'll find more this year...

Moved from Chalcid Wasps.

Trichogramma is correct…
The tiny size, coloration, short antennae with a multi-segmented club, short forewings with radiating veins, rounded abdomen, and wide attachment of thorax and abdomen seem to ID this family. Can't see the number of tarsal segments which would help to confirm, but it is likely three. Indeed, these are among the smallest of insects with some species less than 0.2 mm in length. All are egg parasitoids. Great find Ash.

See reference here.

Thanks so much!
I was surprised to find wasps that tiny. Wish I'd gotten more shots, but it departed soon after.

Moved from ID Request.

Nice image
of something this small, Ashley. I'll be curious as to what the experts think.

I'm certainly no expert,
but it looks to me like a Trichogrammatidae. If it is, then yes, it was definitely parasitizing the hopper eggs.

Thank you -
me too!

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