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Subfamily Cheloninae

Small Wasp (Just how small? I forget!) Wasps? - Chelonus small wasp - Phanerotoma Wasp - Ascogaster - female Unknown May 6 Hymenoptera 27 - Chelonus small braconid - Phanerotoma wasp - Chelonus
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon ("Parasitica" (parasitic Apocrita))
Superfamily Ichneumonoidea (Braconids and Ichneumons)
Family Braconidae (Braconid Wasps)
Subfamily Cheloninae
Numbers
~160 spp. in 3 genera in our area(1), 14 genera total
Range
World wide. Found wherever lepidoperan hosts are found. Chelonus and Ascogaster seem to be more diverse in temperate North America, while Phanaerotoma and Leptodrepana are more commonly encountered in Central and South America.(Shaw, S.R. 1997. Subfamily Cheloninae. in:(2))
Habitat
Leptodrepana and Ascogaster tend to be found more often in shrubby areas and forested habitats. Chelonus are found most often in meadows, prairies, and grasslands, while Phanaerotoma seem to prefer arid regions and to be active during dry seasons. Shaw, S.R. 1997. Subfamily Cheloninae. In: (2)
Food
hosts: Lepidoptera larvae. All except Adelius and Paradelius feed especially on Pyraloidea and Tortricoidea that feed in concealed situations. Many hosts are borers in stems, fruit, or buds of plants. Others use a cryptic feeding strategy by rolling, folding, or tying leaves with silk. (Shaw, S.R. 1997. Subfamily Cheloninae. In:(2)). Adelius and Paradelius feed especially, and perhaps solely, on larvae of Nepticulidae. (Whitfield, J.R. 1997. Subfamily Adeliinae. In: (2)
Life Cycle
koinobiont egg-larval endoparasitoids except for Adelius and Paradelius which are koinobiont larval endoparasitoids. (Whitfield, J.B. 1997. Subfamily Adeliinae. In:(2)) Some chelonids with long ovipositors attack eggs more deeply concealed in plant tissue; others with shorter ovipositors attack eggs which are exposed. (Shaw, S.R. 1997. Subfamily Cheloninae. In:(2)).
Remarks
Females of this subfamily inject POLYDNAVIRUSES into the host during oviposition. These virus particles compromise the host immune system, protecting the parasitoid progeny. Click here for more information on this fascinating example of mutualism.
Various species of Chelonus and Ascogaster have been used in BIOCONTROL PROGRAMS to control potato tuber worm, moth pests Heliothis and Spodoptera, stalk borers in moth family Pyralidae, and fruit pests in superfamily Tortricoidea. (Shaw, S.R. 1997. Subfamily Cheloninae. In:(2)). See print references below.
Print References
Marsh, P.M. 1978. The braconid parasites (Hymenoptera) of Heliothis species (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 80:15-36.
Marsh, P.M. 1979. Descriptions of new Braconidae (Hymenoptera) parasitic on the potato tuber worm and related Lepidoptera from Central and South America. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 69:12-17.
Rodriguez-Del-Bisque, L.A., H.A. Browning, and J.W. Smith Jr. 1990. Seasonal parasitism of cornstalk borers (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) by indigenous and introduced parasites in northeastern Mexico. Environmental Entomology 19: 393-402.
Shaw, S.R. 1983. A taxonomic study of Nearctic Ascogaster and a description of a new genus Leptodrepana (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Entomography 2: 1-54.
Shaw, S.R. 1995. The Braconidae. Pp. 431-464. In: Hanson, P. and Gauld, I. (eds.) The Hymenoptera of Costa Rica. Oxford University Press. Oxford, U.K. (3)
Internet References
Works Cited
1.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
2.Manual of the New World Genera of the Family Braconidae (Hymenoptera)
Wharton, R.A., P.M. Marsh, M.J. Sharkey (Eds). 1997. International Society of Hymenopterists.
3.The Hymenoptera of Costa Rica
Paul E. Hanson and Ian D. Gauld, editors. 1995. Oxford University Press.