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Identification Keys for Afrotropical Hymenoptera (Wasps, Bees, Ants)

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


*** NB Chrome Version 42 (released April 2015) removed the Netscape Plugin API (NPAPI) architecture that Java requires to function. This means that the Lucid keys will not load in Google Chrome. Please use an alternative browser (IE, FireFox, or Safari on Mac OS X) to load the Lucid keys.


  • Suborder SYMPHYTA (Woodwasps, Horntails, Sawflies)

    • Superfamily Orussoidea

    • Superfamily Siricoidea

    • Superfamily Tenthredinoidea

      • Family Argidae (Argid sawflies)

      • Family Tenthredinidae (Common sawflies)


  • Suborder APOCRITA (PARASITICA)  (Parasitic wasps)

    • Superfamily Evanioidea

      • Family Aulacidae (Aulacid wasps)

      • Family Evaniidae (Ensign wasps)

      • Family Gasteruptiidae (Gasteruptid wasps)

    • Superfamily Stephanoidea

      • Family Stephanidae (Stephanid wasps)

    • Superfamily Megalyroidea

    • Superfamily Trigonaloidea

      • Family Trigonalidae (Trigonalid wasps)

    • Superfamily Ichneumonoidea

    • Superfamily Cynipoidea

    • Superfamily Diaprioidea

      • Family Diapriidae (Diapriid wasps)

      • Family Ismaridae (Ismarid wasps)

    • Superfamily Proctotrupoidea

      • Family Proctotrupidae (Proctotrupid wasps)

      • Family Heloridae (Helorid wasps)

    • Superfamily Platygastroidea 

    • Superfamily Ceraphronoidea  

      • Family Ceraphronidae (Ceraphronid wasps)

      • Family Megaspilidae (Megaspilid wasps)

    • Superfamily Chalcidoidea

      • Family Agaonidae (Fig wasps)

      • Family Aphelinidae (Aphelinid wasps)

      • Family Azotidae (Azotid wasps)

      • Family Chalcididae (Chalcidid wasps)

      • Family Encyrtidae (Encyrtid wasps)

      • Family Eriaporidae (Eriaporid wasps)

      • Family Eucharitidae (Eucharitid wasps)

      • Family Eulophidae (Eulophid wasps)

      • Family Eupelmidae (Eupelmid wasps)

      • Family Eurytomidae (Seed chalcids)

      • Family Pteromalidae (Pteromalid wasps)

      • Family Leucospidae (Leucospid wasps)

      • Family Mymaridae (Fairy wasps)

      • Family Ormyridae (Ormyrid wasps)

      • Family Perilampidae (Perilampid wasps)

      • Family Signiphoridae (Signiphorid wasps)

      • Family Tanaostigmatidae (Tanaostigmatid wasps)

      • Family Tetracampidae (Tetracampid wasps)

      • Family Torymidae (Torymid wasps)

      • Family Trichogrammatidae (Trichogrammatid wasps)


  • Suborder APOCRITA (ACULEATA) (Wasps, Ants, Bees)

  • Superfamily Chrysidoidea

    • Family Bethylidae (Bethylid wasps)

    • Family Chrysididae (Cuckoo wasps)

    • Family Dryinidae (Dryinid wasps)

    • Family Embolemidae (Embolemid wasps)

    • Family Plumariidae (Plumariid wasps)

    • Family Sclerogibbidae (Sclerogibbid wasps)

    • Family Scolebythidae (Scolebythid wasps)

  • Superfamily Vespoidea

    • Family Bradynobaenidae (Bradynobaenid wasps)

    • Family Formicidae (Ants)

    • Family Mutillidae (Velvet ants)

    • Family Pompilidae (Spider hunting wasps)

    • Family Rhopalosomatidae (Rhopalosomatid wasps)

    • Family Sapygidae (Sapygid wasps)

    • Family Scoliidae (Mammoth wasps)

    • Family Tiphiidae (Tiphiid wasps)

    • Family Vespidae (Paper, Potter & Pollen wasps)

  • Superfamily Apoidea

    • Family Ampulicidae (Cockroach wasps)

    • Family Andrenidae (Mining bees)

    • Family Apidae (Honey, Cuckoo, Digger & Carpenter bees)

    • Family Colletidae (Membrane, Plasterer & Masked bees)

    • Family Crabronidae (Bee Wolves, Sand wasps)

    • Family Halictidae (Sweat bees, Flower bees)

    • Family Heterogynaidae (Heterogynaid wasps)

    • Family Megachilidae (Leaf cutting bees, Mason Bees)

    • Family Melittidae (Melittid bees)

    • Family Sphecidae (Mud daubers, Digger & Sand wasps)

System requirements

Java Runtime Environment (JRE) must be installed. To check if you have Java installed on your system type "Java -version" in a Command prompt (Windows) or Terminal console (Mac, Unix).

If you receive an unknown command error message or your Java build number is not the latest version then re-install the latest edition of JRE, which can be found at:  http://java.com/en/download/index.jsp

Pop-up blockers on your browser need to be turned off to access character images and species pages (fact sheets) from within the key environment.

What to do if your Java security settings prevent the key from opening. Go to the programs folder on your computer; open the Java Folder; click on Configure Java tab, which will open the Java Control Panel; click on the Security tab; under Exception site list click on Edit site list and add the WaspWeb url: http://www.waspweb.org

If you are still having problems opening the keys visit the Java page: How do I enable Java in my web browser? and follow the instructions for the browser you are using.


Buffington, M.L. & van Noort, S. 2009. A world revision of Anacharoides Cameron, 1904 (Hymenoptera: Figitidae) with a description of a new species. Zookeys 20: 245-274.

Johnson, N. F., Masner, L., Musetti, L., van Noort, S., Rajmohana K., Darling, D.C., Guidotti, A., Polaszek, A. 2008. Revision of world species of the genus Heptascelio Kieffer (Hymenoptera: Platygastroidea, Platygastridae). Zootaxa 1776: 1-51.

Penev, L., Sharkey, M., Erwin, T., van Noort, S., Buffington, M., Seltmann, K., Johnson, N.F., Taylor, M., Thompson, F.C., Dallwitz, M.J. 2009. Data publication and dissemination of interactive keys under the open access model. Forum paper. Zookeys 21: 1-17.

Sharkey, M., Dicky, S.Y., van Noort, S., Seltmann, K., Penev, L. 2009. Revision of the Oriental genera of Agathidinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) with an emphasis on Thailand and interactive keys to genera published in three different formats. ZooKeys 21: 19-54.

Sharkey, M., van Noort, S., Whitfield, J. 2009. Revision of Khoikhoiinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Zookeys 20: 299-348.

Talamas, E.J., Johnson, N.F., van Noort, S., Masner, L., Polaszek, A. 2009. Revision of world species of the genus Oreiscelio Kieffer (Hymenoptera: Platygastroidea, Platygastridae) Zookeys 6: 1-68.

van Noort, S. & Johnson, N. 2009. New species of the plesiomorphic genus Nixonia (Platygastridae, Hymenoptera) from South Africa. Zookeys 20: 31-51.


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

Web author Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum)


Citation: van Noort, S. 2019. WaspWeb: Hymenoptera of the Afrotropical region. URL: www.waspweb.org (accessed on <day/month/year>).

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