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Cotesia melanoscela
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Braconidae
Subfamily: Microgastrinae

Microgastrinae is a subfamily of braconid wasps,[1] encompassing 2,000 described species, with an estimated 5,000-10,000 total species.[2][3] This makes it one of the most species rich subfamilies of parasitoid wasps.[4]


Genera within this subfamily include:[5]

Description and distribution[edit]

These wasps are small, with 18 segmented antennae. Most species are black or brown, a few are more colorful. Many species are morphologically similar enough to be considered cryptic species.[7] Species within this subfamily have a worldwide distribution. 135 species of Microgastrinae have been confirmed from Canada,[8][9] though the number may be as high as 275.[10] At least 28 species have been identified from Turkey in Gökçeada and Bozcaada.[11]


Microgastrinae are koinobiont, primary endoparasitoids of larval Lepidoptera. While most species are solitary, many are gregarious, meaning multiple wasp eggs develop within the same caterpillar. When the eggs hatch the wasp larvae feed on the hemolymph and organs of their host. Once fully developed, the larvae exit the dying caterpillar and immediately spin silken cocoons where they pupate.

Microgastrinae is one of six subfamilies of Braconidae which carry polydnaviruses.[12]

More than 100 species of Microgastrinae have been used in biological control programs.[13]

External Links & Media[edit]

Media related to Microgastrinae at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Microgastrinae at Wikispecies


  1. ^ "UniProt Consortium Taxonomy Browser". Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  2. ^ Mason, W. R. M. (1981). "The Polyphyletic Nature Of Apanteles foerster (Hymenoptera: Braconidae): A Phylogeny and Reclassification of Microgastrinae". Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada. 113 (115): 1. doi:10.4039/entm113115fv. 
  3. ^ Whitfield, James B. (1995). "Annotated Checklist of the Microgastrinae of North America North of Mexico (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)". Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society. 68 (3): 245–62. JSTOR 25085593. 
  4. ^ Fernandez, Jose L. (Fall 2007). "An overview and update of the Microgastrinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) holdings in the Canadian National Collection, Ottawa". Newsletter of the Biological Survey of Canada (Terrestrial Arthropods). Jose L. Fernandez Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. 26 (2). 
  5. ^ Encyclopedia of life
  6. ^ Rousse, Pascal; Gupta, Ankita (2013). "Microgastrinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) of Reunion Island: A catalogue of the local species, including 18 new taxa and a key to species". Zootaxa. 3616 (6). doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3616.6.1. 
  7. ^ Smith, Alex; et al. (2013). "DNA barcoding and the taxonomy of Microgastrinae wasps (Hymenoptera, Braconidae): impacts after 8 years and nearly 20 000 sequences". Molecular Ecology Resources. 13(2). 
  8. ^ Marsh, P. "Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico". Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington: 144–313. 
  9. ^ Yu, D.; van Achterberg, K.; Horstmann, K (2005). World Ichneumonoidea 2004. Taxonomy, Biology, Morphology and Distribution. CD/DVD. Taxapad, Vancouver. 
  10. ^ "Canada's Insect Fauna. Hymenoptera, Braconidae". Biological Survey of Canada. 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-06-29. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  11. ^ İnanç, Filiz; Beyarslan, Ahmet (2000). "A Study on Microgastrinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) Species in Gökçeada and Bozcaada". Turkish Journal of Zoology. 25 (3): 287–96. [permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Murphy, Nicholas; Banks, Jonathan C.; Whitfield, James B.; Austin, Andrew D. (2008-04-01). "Phylogeny of the parasitic microgastroid subfamilies (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) based on sequence data from seven genes, with an improved time estimate of the origin of the lineage". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 47 (1): 378–395. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.01.022. 
  13. ^ Wharton, Robert A.; Marsh, Paul M.; Sharkey, Michael J. (1997). The Manual of the New World Genera of the Family Braconidae (Hymenoptera) (PDF). Washington DC: The International Society of Hymenopterists. pp. 333–335.