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Subfamily Cheloninae

5010708 wasp? - Phanerotoma Unknown  - Chelonus Small reddish braconid wasp - Phanerotoma Phanerotoma? Male? - Pseudophanerotoma thapsina - male Belden-J.2021.84 Dark, punctate wasp on Ericameria nauseosa - Chelonus Phanerotoma - 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 Braconidae (Braconid Wasps)
Subfamily Cheloninae
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Adeliinae Viereck, 1918, accepted as tribe Adeliini(1)
~183 spp. in 7 genera and 3 tribes in our area;(2)(3) over 500 spp.(4) in 20 extant genera and 4 tribes worldwide(1)

Adeliini Viereck, 1918
[!] homonymy with the coleopteran Adeliini Kirby, 1828 yet to be resolved by ICZN; alternatively treated under Chelonini
1. Adelius (3 spp.)(5)
2. Paradelius (2 spp.)(5)

Chelonini Foerster, 1863
3. Ascogaster (12 spp.)(6)(7)
4. Chelonus (~139 spp.)(2)
5. Leptodrepana (4 spp.)(6)

Phanerotomini Baker, 1926
6. Phanerotoma (~22 spp.)(2)(8)
7. Pseudophanerotoma (1 sp.)(8)
either 1st 2 metasomal tergites only fused, not forming a carapace over all other apical tergites (Adelius and Paradelius), or 1st 3 tergites fused, forming a carapace over all other apical tergites (all other chelonines).
fore wing vein r-m present except in Adelius and Paradelius
Ascogaster vs Chelonus: difference in wing venation

Key to New World genera by Kittel et al.(9)

Comparison of wing venation:

          Adelius                      Ascogaster                         Chelonus                     Phanerotoma             Pseudophanerotoma
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:(4))
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:(4))
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:(4)). Adelius and Paradelius feed especially, and perhaps solely, on larvae of Nepticulidae. (Whitfield, J.R. 1997. Subfamily Adeliinae. in: (4)
Life Cycle
koinobiont egg-larval endoparasitoids except for Adelius and Paradelius which are koinobiont larval endoparasitoids. (Whitfield, J.B. 1997. Subfamily Adeliinae. In:(4)) 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:(4))
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:(4)). 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.(6)
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.(10)
Internet References
Works Cited
1.Molecular and morphological phylogenetics of chelonine parasitoid wasps, w/ a critical assessment of divergence time estimation
Rebecca N. Kittel, Andrew D. Austin, & Seraina Klopfstein. 2016. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 101: 224–241.
2.Nomina Insecta Nearctica
Poole, Robert W., Inc.
3.Family Braconidae, pp. 144-295. In: Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico
Marsh, P.M. . 1979. Smithsonian Institution Press.
4.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.
5.Revision of the New World genera Adelius Haliday and Paradelius de Saeger (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Cheloninae: Adeliini)
Eduardo M. Shimbori, Marco A. Bortoni, Scott R. Shaw, Carolina S. Souza-Gessner, Paula C.M. Cerântola, Angélica M. Penteado-Di. 2019. Zootaxa 4571 (2): 151–200.
6.A taxonomic study of Nearctic Ascogaster and a description of a new genus Leptodrepana (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)
Scott R Shaw. 1983. Entomography 2: 1-54.
7. Notes on Braconidae (Hymenoptera) associated with jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) and descriptions of new species
Paul M. Marsh. 1989. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 65(1): 58-67.
8.A taxonomic review of the parasitoid wasp genera Furcidentia Zettel and Pseudophanerotoma Zettel from the Neotropics...
Rebecca N. Kittel. 2018. Zootaxa 4486 (2): 146-160.
9.R. Kittel, S. Shaw, & M. Sharkey. Subfamily Cheloninae
10.The Hymenoptera of Costa Rica
Paul E. Hanson and Ian D. Gauld, editors. 1995. Oxford University Press.