Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes



Polysphincta Genus Group

wasp, pupa & cocoon Ichneumon - Acrotaphus wiltii - female ichneumon - Oxyrrhexis carbonator - female Acrotaphus wiltii preying on Larinioides patagiatus - Acrotaphus wiltii Wasp for ID - female Orange wasp with black head and antennae - Acrotaphus wiltii Diplazontinae ? - Oxyrrhexis carbonator Ichneumonoid - female
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 Ichneumonoidea (Braconid and Ichneumonid Wasps)
Family Ichneumonidae (Ichneumonid Wasps)
Subfamily Pimplinae
Tribe Ephialtini
No Taxon Polysphincta Genus Group
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Formerly, tribe Polysphinctini, which Townes & Townes (1960) regarded as a "specialized offshoot" of Ephialtini (Pimplini of Townes, non Wahl).(1) This was tantamount to saying that Ephialtini are paraphyletic, which Gauld & Dubois (2005) confirmed by cladistic analysis, resulting in their relegation of the group to genus group status.(2)
34 spp. in 11 genera north of Mexico(3)(4); 24 genera worldwide;(5)(2)
1. Acrodactyla Haliday, 1839 (3 spp.)
2. Acrotaphus Townes, 1960 (3 spp.)
3. Eruga Townes, 1960 (3 spp.)
4. Oxyrrhexis Förster, 1868 (1 sp.)
5. Piogaster Perkins, 1958 (1 sp.)
6. Polysphincta Gravenhorst, 1829 (5 spp.)
7. Schizopyga Gravenhorst, 1829 (2 spp.)
8. Sinarachna Townes, 1960 (1 sp.)
9. Zabrachypus Cushman, 1920 (1 sp.)
10. Zatypota Förster, 1868 (14 spp.)
Larvae are ectoparasitoids of spiders.

Many specific host records remain understudied. A few of the known records are reported at the family-level below:
Acrodactyla : Tetragnathidae
Acrotaphus: Araneidae and Tetragnathidae
Eruga: Linyphiidae and Tetragnathidae
Oxyrrhexis: Theridiidae (Steatoda)
Polysphincta: Araneidae
Sinarachna: Araneidae, Dictynidae, and Theridiidae (Achaearanea, Theridion?)
Zatypota: Dictynidae , Theridiidae, and Linyphiidae
The taxa of the Polysphincta genus group (Pgg) are parasitoids of free living spiders, but those of the genus Schizopyga apparently sting the spider to death before laying an egg upon it. Schizopyga is only marginally different in this habit from Zaglyptus, which, however, lacks important characters of the Pgg (e.g. different type of ovipositor) that exclude it from the Pgg. Zaglyptus invades nests of spiders that stay with their eggs and stings the spider to death and then oviposits multiple times on the eggs of the spider. The Zaglyptus larvae consume the eggs and usually also the body of the mother spider, and sometimes Zaglyptus females also oviposit on the body of the mother spider. The species of the ephialtine genus Tromatobia are parasitoids of spider egg sacs, and species of Clistopyga, which are more similar in many respects to the genera of the Pgg, are thought to parasitize eggs sacs of spiders that are deposited in crevices. Species of another ephialtine genus, Iseropus, are gregarious parasitoids of lepidopterous larvae in silken cocoons or cases. Therefore, it is not difficult to conceive ways in which the taxa in the Pgg may have evolved.
Print References
Townes, H. K. and M. C. Townes, 1960. Ichneumon-flies of America North of Mexico: 2. Subfamilies Ephialtinae, Xoridinae, Acaenitinae. United States National Museum Bulletin 216, part 2, vii + 676 p.(1)
Gauld, Ian and Jaques Dubois, 2005. Phylogeny of the Polysphincta group of genera (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae): a taxonomic revision of spider ectoparasitoids. Systematic Entomology 31(3): 529-564.(2)
Works Cited
1.Ichneumon-Flies of America North of Mexico: 2. Subfamilies Ephialtinae, Xoridinae, and Acaenitinae
Henry Townes and Marjorie Townes. 1960. Bulletin - United States National Museum, Vol. 216, Part 2, pp. 1–676.
2.Phylogeny of the Polysphincta group of genera (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae; Pimplinae): a taxonomic revision of spider...
Gauld, I.D. and Dubois, J. 2006. Systematic Entomology 31(3):529-564.
3.Nomina Insecta Nearctica
Poole, Robert W., Inc.
4.Carlson R.W. () Ichneumonidae catalog
5.Classification and Systematics of the Ichneumonidae