~160 spp. in 3 genera in our area(1)
, 14 genera total
fore wing vein r-m
World wide. Found wherever lepidoperan hosts are found. Chelonus
seem to be more diverse in temperate North America, while Phanaerotoma
are more commonly encountered in Central and South America.(Shaw, S.R. 1997. Subfamily Cheloninae. in:(2)
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)
hosts: Lepidoptera larvae. All except Adelius
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
feed especially, and perhaps solely, on larvae of Nepticulidae. (Whitfield, J.R. 1997. Subfamily Adeliinae. In
koinobiont egg-larval endoparasitoids
except for Adelius
which are koinobiont larval endoparasitoids
. (Whitfield, J.B. 1997. Subfamily Adeliinae. In
) 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
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
have been used in BIOCONTROL PROGRAMS to control potato tuber worm, moth pests Heliothis
, stalk borers in moth family Pyralidae, and fruit pests in superfamily Tortricoidea. (Shaw, S.R. 1997. Subfamily Cheloninae. In
). See print references below.
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)