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mystery fly or wasp - Sycoscapter

mystery fly or wasp - Sycoscapter
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA
August 17, 2012
Size: less than 1/32 of an inch
Litterally thousands in a second floor closet - also found many dead pharoah ants

Images of this individual: tag all
mystery fly or wasp - Sycoscapter mystery fly or wasp - Sycoscapter mystery fly or wasp - Sycoscapter mystery fly or wasp - Sycoscapter

Moved to Sycoscapter sp.
Moved from Fig wasps.

Pteromalidae: Sycoscapter sp
Pteromalidae: Sycoscapter sp

Welcome to BugGuide
Dr. Jean-Yves Rasplus,
I googled you and I found you are knowledgeable of Pteromalidae. Would you please add a brief comment of your experience to your account page, as this would be a great help to editors. Thank you for taking time to ID some of our specimens. You are a welcomed expert on BugGuide.

The genus has been in Agaonidae (e.g. here) and, according to my chalcid contact, there is still uncertainty about the correct placement.

Taxonomy Basis
I used the taxonomy from FigWeb and BOLD Systems


I don't contest that point and have cited UCD regularly. The paper on which the placement is based is this one.

Taxonomy Changes
According to Rasplus,
" In contrast to Bouček’s (1988) classification where fig wasps were united under the single family Agaonidae, subsequent phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that the Agaonidae as defined by Bouček was paraphyletic. Three of the constituent subfamilies of non-pollinating fig wasps (Sycoecinae, Otitesellinae and Sycoryctinae) were reassigned to the Pteromalidae, leaving the pollinating fig wasps in the Agaonidae (Rasplus et al. 1998; Campbell et al. 2000. Agaonidae were further split into 3 subfamilies (Cruaud et al. 2010). Subsequently the Sycophaginae were shown to be a sister clade to the Agaonidae and are currently included in this family and the remaining group of non-pollinating fig wasps (Epichrysomallinae) is now also placed in the Pteromalidae (Heraty et al. 2013)."

Moved from Chalcid Wasps.

Chalcid Wasps
Moved from ID Request.

Moved for the detailed comments. Any of the (4) images needing to be frassed, should be done by an expert.

Confirmation of Fig Tree
In an email, it was confirmed that there is a fig tree next to the building. While it wasn't quite as tall as the roof of the building, that would hardly matter, as, not only has my chalcid contact pointed out that most chalcids are adequate fliers, there is a paper on tropical Agaonidae reporting that they can fly up to 10 km with the assistance of wind. While the situation concerning lights wasn't discussed, it would seem apparent that a car dealership would have various sorts of lighting, including lighted signs. I am inclined to wonder, therefore, if lights or signs weren't mounted on the rooftop closet in question. Per my contact, these wasps would be able to pass through an ordinary screen, and a multitude of wasps could emerge from an individual fig, and for an entire tree, the numbers of wasps would be huge.

Fig Wasps
My chalcid contact wrote: "These are fig wasps, so there must be a fig tree in the area somewhere, or at least some fresh figs. The wasps could possibly emerge from dried figs, but I'm not sure about that. There are at least two families and several species. The green ones are Agaonidae (several subfamilies) and the yellow one is Eurytomidae (Sycophila). None of these are the true fig wasp (Agaoninae). They are all parasitoids of the fig wasp or each other. The relationships are rather involved and not entirely well known. Very interesting emergence. I've seen similar situations with pine cones that were brought in the house for decoration where the seed-feeding chalcidoids emerge in large numbers." Subsequently, it was pointed out that fig wasps are attracted to lights, in case that might be relevant as well.

I'm intrigued. Pls provide any additional images of these wasps you found if available.

I added more images
I added more images -I have literally thousands from a second floor closet in a car dealership - They clean them and more appear...

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