Gasteruptiidae

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Gasteruptiidae
Gasteruption jaculator01.jpg
Gasteruption jaculator
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Suborder: Apocrita
Superfamily: Evanioidea
Family: Gasteruptiidae
Genera and species

see text

An Australian species in flight

The Gasteruptiidae are one of the more distinctive families among the apocritan wasps, with surprisingly little variation in appearance for a group that contains around 500 species in two subfamilies (Gasteruptiinae and Hyptiogastrinae) and with 9 genera worldwide. The propleura form an elongated "neck", the petiole attaches very high on the propodeum, and the hind tibiae are swollen and club-like. The females commonly have long ovipositor (except in the genus Pseudofoenus), and lay eggs in the nests of solitary bees and wasps, where their larvae prey upon the host eggs, larvae and provisions.

The smaller of the two gasteruptiid subfamilies, Hyptiogastrinae, has a restricted Gondwanan distribution, with most species being found in Australia, and 2 species in New Zealand, 2 species in South America, and 8 species in the south-west Pacific (New Britain, New Caledonia, New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu).

The absence of "teeth" on the crown of the head and the somewhat thickened antennae readily separate these wasps from those in the unrelated family Stephanidae, which also contains very slender wasps with long necks.

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