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Plant / pollenated
adult of Ichneumonoidea pollenates or fertilises flower of Coeloglossum viride
Other: major host/prey


Brief Summary

provided by Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico
Present data on numbers of species ranks the Ichneumonoidea as the largest superfamily of Hymenoptera. It includes the bulk of the larger Parasitica, most ichneumonoids being over 5 mm in length and a few being longer than 50 mm. A greater percentage of Ichneumonoidea than other Parasitica have the ovipositor conspicuously exposed, but, on the other hand, a very significant portion of Ichneumonoidea have ovipositors that protrude scarcely or not at all beyond the median dorsal extremeties of the apical tergites. Townes (1975) discussed the Hymenoptera (mostly Ichneumonoidea) with the longest ovipositors; he cited a species of "Iphiaulax?" (Braconidae) with an ovipositor 14 times the length of the body. ~The distinguishing characters of Ichneumonoidea are: the usual fusion of the costal and subcostal veins of the fore wing; the long antennae, which are usually more than 14-segmented; and the 2-segmented hind trochanters (the other trochanters usually also being 2-segmented). The characters are for the most part shared by the Braconidae, Aphidiidae, Hybrizontidae, Ichneumonidae, and Stephanidae, the five families here considered to comprise the Ichneumonoidea. In the case of the Stephanidae, however, there is some question about the correctness of placement in the Ichneumonoidea (see Townes, 1969, p. 3). The larval head capsule of stephanids is considerably different from those of other ichneumonoid families (personal commun., J. R. T. Short, 1976), and in stephanids the costa and subcosta are more distinctly separated than in other ichneumonoid families. Nevertheless, we believe it best to leave the Stephanidae in the Ichneumonoidea until further studies are made. ~The Aphidiidae and Hybrizontidae are sometimes treated as subfamilies of Braconidae (see van Achterberg, 1976). Some early 19th Century authors referred to the combination of the latter three groups as the "Ichneumonidum adscitorum" (?unauthentic Ichneumonidae) which they distinguished from the "Ichneumonidum genuinorum" (genuine Ichneumonidae). The distinction largely resulted from Jurine's (1807) classification of the veins and cells of hymenopterous fore wings and his provision of terms for some of the veins and cells (e.g. "nervi recurrentes"). Eady (1974) provided an excellent discussion of the way in which the Jurinean system of wing vein and cell nomenclature was modified and expanded by those who adopted Jurine's ideas. He reviewed the systems of wing vein nomenclature which are currently used for Braconidae and compared them with usages for Aphidiidae, Ichneumonidae, and other Hymenoptera. He proposed an "interim method [in order] to overcome the more frequently voiced objections to ... [the Comstock-Needham] system without adding to the confusion or obstructing progress toward uniformity." ~It was apparently by mutual agreement that Gravenhorst (1819) and Nees ab Esenbeck (1819) decided to specialize on the Ichneumonidorum genuinorum and Ichneumonidorum adscitorum, respectively. In the papers referred to, they simultaneously outlined their plans for the monographs which are here cited in the sections to which they pertain. Thunberg (1822, 1824) chose to ignore the revolutionary advances in classification made possible by the work of Jurine and reverted to lumping all of the Ichneumonoidea under the generic name Ichneumon (see introduction to Ichneumonidae). Consequently, Thunberg's work was largely ignored prior to Roman's (1912) study of his type specimens. ~The actual number of species in the Ichneumonoidea can only be estimated. The Braconidae contains about 2,000 described species in North America and about 10,000 worldwide; the Ichneumonidae about 3,000 in North America and about 15,000 worldwide. However, the total number of species is estimated to be 60,000 worldwide in the Ichnuemonidae (Townes, 1969, p. 7) and 40,000 in the Braconidae. ~Except for Hybrizontidae and Stephanidae, the families of Ichneumonoidea occur in all zoographical regions and in all terrestrial habitats. In the Ichnuemonidae the Western Palearctic fauna is best known followed by the Nearctic, whereas the reverse seems to be true for the Braconidae. As in the case of Chalcidoidea, most of our knowledge of the Ichneumonoidea has been derived from species of economic importance to agriculture. For the vast majority of species, there is little or no knowledge of biology. ~The ichneumonoids are parasitic on nearly all groups of insects as well as on spiders, and all stages of these hosts are attacked. Aphidiidae, many Braconidae, and possibly Hybrizontidae (hosts of latter unknown) attack paurometabolous insects, while no paurometabolous hosts are known for Ichneumonidae or Stephanidae. The only ichneumonoids which attack adults of holometabolous insects are certain euphorine and blacine Braconidae. Aside from the limitations which have been mentioned, large numbers of Ichneumonoidea are polyphagous and the limits of the host range seem to be related more to the host habitat than to the taxonomy of the host. ~The only families of Ichneumonoidea which are known to include hyperparasitic species are Ichneumonidae and Braconidae, but only a very few Braconidae could be regarded as hyperparasitic (i.e. a few Euphorinae which attack adult Ichneumonidae). The fact that hyperparasitism is much more prevalent in the Ichneumonidae than in the Braconidae is explained largely (but not in the case of mesochorine and eucerotine Ichneumonidae) by the fact that certain Ichneumonidae have the habit of attacking hosts which are confined within silken cocoons (e.g. sawfly prepupae, ichneumonoid prepupae, spider eggs, chrysopid eggs, etc.), while this habit has not developed among Braconidae. Further discussion of host relations is deferred to the introductions to the various taxa.
bibliographic citation
Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico. 1979. Prepared cooperatively by specialists on the various groups of Hymenoptera under the direction of Karl V. Krombein and Paul D. Hurd, Jr., Smithsonian Institution, and David R. Smith and B. D. Burks, Systematic Entomology Laboratory, Insect Identification and Beneficial Insect Introduction Institute. Science and Education Administration, United States Department of Agriculture.


provided by wikipedia EN

The superfamily Ichneumonoidea contains one extinct and three extant families, including the two largest families within Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae and Braconidae. The group is thought to contain as many as 100,000 species, many of which have not yet been described.[1] Like other parasitoid wasps, they were long placed in the "Parasitica", variously considered as an infraorder or an unranked clade, now known to be paraphyletic.


The name is derived from Latin 'ichneumon', from Ancient Greek ἰχνεύμων (ikhneúmōn, "tracker"), from ἴχνος (íkhnos, "track, footstep").[2] The name is shared with the Egyptian mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon.


The superfamily is defined by fusion of the costal and radial veins of the fore wing, and almost all species have more than 11 antennal segments.[3] Both included families have a cosmopolitan distribution. Ichneumonoids have morphological similarities with relatives within the order Hymenoptera, including ants and bees. Ichneumonoidea contains a great deal of morphological diversity, with species ranging in size from 1 to 130 mm (0.039 to 5.118 in) long. Most are slender, and the females of many species (particularly in the genus Megarhyssa) have extremely long ovipositors for laying eggs.

The ichneumonid wasps may be more familiar to non-entomologists than braconids, as they are generally larger. The two families are distinguished from each other primarily by details of wing venation.


Most are brownish or black, not brightly colored.[4] Fore wings lack vein 2m-cu.


Ichneumonids vary greatly in size and their color varies from brightly colored to uniform black. Fore wing with vein 2m-cu present and tubular.[3]


Parasitoidism evolved only once in the Hymenoptera during the Permian, leading to a single clade which contains the Apocrita and the Orussoidea, but has been secondarily lost multiple times. The Apocrita emerged from that clade during the Jurassic.[5][6][7][8]


Sawflies Xyelapusilla.jpg

Orussoidea Orussus coronatus.jpg

Apocrita Ichneumonoidea

Ichneumonidae Ichneumon wasp (Ichneumonidae sp) female (cropped).jpg

Braconidae Atanycolus sp.jpg

Chalcidoidea and allies Chalcid Wasp - Conura species, Woodbridge, Virginia - 14885696378 (cropped).jpg

Aculeata European wasp white bg.jpg

wasp waist parasitoidism

Parasitic life cycle

Ichneumonoids are solitary insects, and the vast majority are parasitoids; the larvae feed on or in another insect until it finally dies. Most hosts are holometabolus insect larvae, but there are many exceptions. In general, ichneumonoids are host specific, and only attack one or a few closely related host species. Many species use polydnaviruses to suppress the immune systems of their host insects. Due to the wide variety in hosts and lifestyles, see subfamily pages for more detail.

The female ichneumonoid finds a host and lays an egg on, near, or inside the host's body.[9] The ovipositor of ichneumonoids generally cannot deliver a sting as many wasps or bees do. It can be used to bore wood and lay eggs on hosts deep inside, or reach hosts hidden inside leaf shelters. Upon hatching, the larva feeds either externally or internally, killing the host when it is ready to pupate.

Various ichneumonoids are used as biological control agents in controlling horticultural or forest pests. An example is the relationship between the species Ichneumon eumerus and its host butterfly Phengaris rebeli.[10] The butterfly larva is a parasite within Myrmica ant nests. The adult I. eumerus searches for ant nests and only enters when they contain P. rebeli caterpillars.[10] Once inside, they oviposit within the caterpillars and escape the nest by releasing a chemical which causes the worker ants to fight each other rather than the intruding wasp.[10] The wasp eggs then hatch inside the caterpillar and eventually consume and kill the host.

Life cycle of Hercus fontinalis


  1. ^ Pennacchio, Francesco; Strand, Michael R. (2005-12-06). "Evolution of developmental strategies in parasitic hymenoptera". Annual Review of Entomology. 51 (1): 233–258. doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.51.110104.151029. ISSN 0066-4170. PMID 16332211.
  2. ^ "Strong's Greek: 2487. ἴχνος (ichnos) -- a track". biblehub.com.
  3. ^ a b H., Goulet; J.T., Huber (1993). "10: Superfamily Ichneumonoidea". Hymenoptera of the world: An identification guide to families.
  4. ^ Borror and White
  5. ^ Branstetter, Michael G.; Danforth, Bryan N.; Pitts, James P.; Faircloth, Brant C.; Ward, Philip S.; Buffington, Matthew L.; Gates, Michael W.; Kula, Robert R.; Brady, Seán G. (2017). "Phylogenomic Insights into the Evolution of Stinging Wasps and the Origins of Ants and Bees". Current Biology. 27 (7): 1019–1025. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.03.027. PMID 28376325.open access
  6. ^ Schulmeister, S. (2003). "Simultaneous analysis of basal Hymenoptera (Insecta), introducing robust-choice sensitivity analysis". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 79 (2): 245–275. doi:10.1046/j.1095-8312.2003.00233.x.open access
  7. ^ Schulmeister, S. "Symphyta". Archived from the original on 21 June 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  8. ^ Peters, Ralph S.; Krogmann, Lars; Mayer, Christoph; Donath, Alexander; Gunkel, Simon; Meusemann, Karen; Kozlov, Alexey; Podsiadlowski, Lars; Petersen, Malte (2017). "Evolutionary History of the Hymenoptera". Current Biology. 27 (7): 1013–1018. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.01.027. PMID 28343967.
  9. ^ Sezen, Uzay. "Two ichneumon wasps competing to oviposit". Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  10. ^ a b c Hochberg, M; Elmes, G. W.; Thomas, J. A.; Clarke, R. T (1996). "Mechanisms of local persistence in coupled host-parasitoid associations: the case model of Maculinea rebeli and Ichneumon eumerus". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences. 351 (1348): 1713–1724. Bibcode:1996RSPTB.351.1713H. doi:10.1098/rstb.1996.0153.

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Ichneumonoidea: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

The superfamily Ichneumonoidea contains one extinct and three extant families, including the two largest families within Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae and Braconidae. The group is thought to contain as many as 100,000 species, many of which have not yet been described. Like other parasitoid wasps, they were long placed in the "Parasitica", variously considered as an infraorder or an unranked clade, now known to be paraphyletic.

Wikipedia authors and editors
visit source
partner site
wikipedia EN