Neha Patil (Editor)

Chalcid wasp

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Scientific name


Chalcid wasp Chalcid WaspConura Amoena Hymenoptera Pinterest Wasp

Lower classifications

Hyperparasitoid chalcid wasps emerging from braconid wasp cocoons

Chalcid wasps (/ˈKælSɪD/, from Greek khalkos, meaning 'copper', for their metallic colour) are insects within the superfamily Chalcidoidea, part of the order Hymenoptera. The superfamily contains some 22,500 known species, and an estimated total diversity of more than 500,000 species, meaning the vast majority have yet to be discovered and described. The name "chalcid" is often confused with the name "chalcidid", though the latter refers strictly to one constituent family, the Chalcididae, rather than the superfamily as a whole; accordingly, most recent publications (e.g., ) use the name "chalcidoid" when referring to members of the superfamily.


Chalcid wasp Small Chalcid Wasp Conura BugGuideNet

Most of the species are parasitoids of other insects, attacking the egg or larval stage of their host, though many other life cycles are known. These hosts are to be found in at least 12 different insect orders including Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Diptera (true flies), Coleoptera (beetles), Hemiptera (true bugs), and other Hymenoptera, as well as two orders of Arachnida, and even one family of nematodes. When the host is itself a parasitoid, they are referred to as hyperparasitoids. A small percentage are phytophagous and the larvae feed inside seeds, stems, and galls, including some that act as pollinators (e.g. fig wasps). Generally beneficial to humans as a group, chalcidoids help keep various crop pests under control, and many species have been imported as biocontrol agents. Copidosoma floridanum is one such species, whose genome is being sequenced by the Human Genome Sequencing Center as part of the i5K project, which aims to sequence the genomes of 5,000 arthropods.

Chalcid wasp Colin Hutton Photography Bees and Wasps Chalcid Wasp

Chalcidoids are tiny, dark-coloured wasps, typically black or brown, but often metallic blue or green, with complex sculpturing on the body. They are also recognized by the characteristic reduced wing venation, similar to that seen in other superfamilies of parasitic wasps.

Chalcid wasp Chalcid Wasp What39s That Bug

Tiny chalcid wasps have invaded mason bee tubes


Chalcidoidea is a superfamily of Hymenoptera, whose family constituency is in constant flux, as new hypotheses of relationships are constantly being proposed and rejected; with the advent of molecular systematics, it seems that the future will see further revisions of the classification in use today.

There are nineteen extant families recognized at present:

Chalcid wasp Chalcid Wasp Leucospis affinis BugGuideNet

  • Agaonidae Walker, 1846
  • Aphelinidae Thomson, 1876
  • Chalcididae Latreille, 1817
  • Encyrtidae Walker, 1837
  • Eucharitidae Latreille, 1809
  • Eulophidae Westwood, 1829 (including Elasmidae)
  • Eupelmidae Walker, 1833
  • Eurytomidae Walker, 1832
  • Leucospidae Fabricius, 1775
  • Mymaridae Haliday, 1833
  • Ormyridae Förster, 1856
  • Perilampidae Latreille, 1809
  • Pteromalidae Dalman, 1820
  • Rotoitidae Bouček & Noyes, 1987
  • Signiphoridae Ashmead, 1880
  • Tanaostigmatidae Howard, 1890
  • Tetracampidae Förster, 1856
  • Torymidae Walker, 1833
  • Trichogrammatidae Haliday, 1851
  • There is also one extinct family, Khutelchalcididae Rasnitsyn, Basibuyuk & Quicke, 2004.

    Chalcid wasp Chalcid Wasp Brachymeria fonscolombei What39s That Bug

    Of these families, at least five are known to be artificial groups (paraphyletic), and are being - or will be - divided into several families, or perhaps fused with existing families. The most problematic, the Pteromalidae, is, in some classifications, supposed to contain as many as 8 independent lineages, grouped together because of superficial similarities.


    Chalcid wasp Subjects Chalcid Wasps Nature Closeups

  • Key to families Grissell, E. E., and M. E. Schauff. 1990. A handbook of the families of Nearctic Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera).Entomological Society of Washington (Washington, D.C.) Handbook 1:1-85. Online at [1]
  • Gibson, G. A. P., Huber, J. T., and J. B. Woolley. 1997. Annotated keys to the genera of Nearctic Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera). NRC Research Press.[2]

  • Chalcid wasp Chalcid wasp Chalcid wasps superfamily Chalcidoidea belo Flickr

    Chalcid wasp Chalcid wasp Wikipedia


    Chalcid wasp Wikipedia