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Ichneumonidae

of the Afrotropical Region

(Life: Kingdom: Metazoa (animals); Phylum: Arthropoda; Class: Hexapoda; Order: Hymenoptera;  Superfamily: Ichneumonoidea)

 

ClassificationIdentification keys

Distribution

Worldwide.

Biology

Idiobiont or Koinobiont endo or ectoparasitoids of immature insects (Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera, Rhaphidioptera, Trichoptera) or Chelcerata (Araneae and Pseudoscorpionida eggs, adult Araneae).

References

Bennett, A.M.R., Sääksjärvi, I.E. and Broad, G.R.  2013Revision of the New World species of Erythrodolius (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae: Sisyrostolinae), with a key to the world species. Zootaxa 3702 (5): 425–436. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3702.5.2

Quicke, D. L. 2014. The Braconid and Ichneumonid Parasitoid Wasps: Biology, Systematics, Evolution and Ecology. John Wiley & Sons, New York. 704 pages.

Quicke, D.L.J., Laurenne, N.M., Fitton, M.G. & Broad, G.R. 2009. A thousand and one wasps: a 28S rDNA and morphological phylogeny of the Ichneumonidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera) with an investigation into alignment parameter space and elision. Journal of Natural History, 43: 1305–1421. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00222930902807783

Santos BF. 2017. Phylogeny and reclassification of Cryptini (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae, Cryptinae), with implications for ichneumonid higher-level classification. Systematic Entomology. doi:10.1111/syen.12238

Seyrig, A. 1932. Les Ichneumonides de Madagascar I. Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae. Mémoires de l'Académie Malgache, 11, 1–183.

Wahl, D.B. 1993. Family ichneumonidae (pp. 395-448). In GOULET, H. & HUBER, J. (eds). Hymenoptera of the World: an identification guide to families. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Canada, 668 pp.

Yu D.S., van Achterberg, K., Horstmann, K. 2011. World Ichneumonoidea 2011. Taxonomy, biology, morphology and distribution. Available from Vancouver, Canada: Taxapad. www.taxapad.com

Credits

Photographs © Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa).

Classification of Afrotropical Ichneumonidae

Enicospilus_transvaalensis

South African Ichneumonidae

Dicky Yu's Taxapad database of World Ichneumonoidea

David Wahl's classification and systematics of world Ichneumonidae 

A manipulative ichneumonid wasp

Aim of this web site

An E-typing initiative to photographically document the type specimens of Afrotropical ichneumonids to facilitate the identification of specimens collected during biodiversity inventory surveys. Types of 604 species, representing 314 of the 360 Afrotropical genera, have so far been photographed in European museums and web pages are currently being developed for these species. Species pages can be accessed through the Classification pages. Online keys are currently being developed.

Ichneumonid species richness

The Ichneumonidae is one of the most species rich families of all organisms with an estimated 60 000 species in the world (Townes 1969). Even so, many authorities regard this figure as an underestimate (Gauld 1991). An estimated 12 100 species of Ichneumonidae occur in the Afrotropical region (Africa south of the Sahara and including Madagascar and surrounding islands) (Townes & Townes 1973), of which only 2097 species have been described in the 360 genera in 26 subfamilies recorded from the Afrotropical region (Yu et al 2011). This means that only 17% of the Afrotropical ichneumonids are known to science!

Ichneumonid diversity assessment in Africa

Quantitative studies of ichneumonid species richness are scarce in Africa. A limited number of assessments have been conducted in Sierra Leone and Uganda (Owen & Owen 1974); Namibia (van Noort et al. 2000); Gabon (van Noort 2004); Central African Republic (van Noort in prep.), Tanzania (van Noort in prep.) and South Africa (van Noort in prep.).  Very little is known about the ichneumonid faunas of the majority of African countries.

Latitudinal gradients of ichneumonid species richness

The Ichneumonidae, along with other groups of parasitic Hymenoptera, are supposedly no more species rich in the tropics than in the Northern Hemisphere temperate regions (Owen & Owen 1974; Janzen 1981; Janzen & Pond 1975), although a number of hymenopteran families, for example the Chalcididae (Hespenheide 1979) and Encyrtidae (Noyes 1989b) exhibit an increase in species richness with a decrease in latitude. Other hymenopteran taxa such as sawflies (Symphyta), gall-forming Cynipidae and bees (Apoidea) peak in species richness at mid or high latitudes (Michener 1979; Noyes 1989b; Kouki et al. 1994). Considerable debate has centered on the apparent species richness anomaly exhibited by a number of hymenopteran parasitoid taxa in the tropics (see Morrison et al. 1978; Gauld 1991; Gauld & Gaston 1994).

Importance of ichneumonids

Ichneumonids utilise a diverse array of insects and arachnids as their hosts and play an essential role in the normal functioning of most ecosystems, underlining the need to inventory their diversity. Ichneumonids have been used successfully as biocontrol agents and given the largely undocumented fauna there is a huge potential for their use in managed biocontrol programmes (Gupta 1991). Comprehensive quantitative biodiversity surveys will enable the identification of hotspots of species richness and endemism; essential base line data that will enable informed future conservation management decisions.

Acknowledgements

 
This project was made possible by an International Science Liaison research grant (GUN 2068865) received from the National Research Foundation (South Africa) in conjunction with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
I am particularly grateful to my Italian colleague, Professor Massimo Olmi (Department of Plant Protection at the University of Tuscia in Viterbo) and his wife Rosella for their very kind hospitality and support during our stay in Italy. I would also like to thank all the curators of collections housing Afrotropical ichneumonid types for their kind assistance and hospitality during my visits to their institutions (in no particular order): Roberto Poggi (Museo Civico Di Storia Naturale “Giacomo Doria” in Genova); Mauro Daccordi (Museo e Instituto di Zoologia Sistematica in Torino); Claire Villemant (Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle Paris); Eliane de Coninck and Joseph de Becker (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren); Patrick Grootaert (Royal Belgium Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels); John Noyes and Sondra Ward (Natural History Museum London); Stefan Schmidt and Eric Diller (Zoologische Staatssammlung Muenchen).

Credits

Photographs © Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa).


Web author Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum)

 

Citation: van Noort, S. 2018. WaspWeb: Hymenoptera of the Afrotropical region. URL: www.waspweb.org (accessed on <day/month/year>).

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