Featured Chalcidoids
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Family- Rotoitidae

Introduction

Rotoitidae are a small relictual family (only 2 genera) of parasitic wasps proposed to be the sister to the rest of Chalcidoidea, after Mymaridae. Their actual biology remains unknown. They are known from only two genera and two species that occur in New Zealand and Chile. This is a relict distribution of what was once a worldwide distribution that is known only from amber fossils distributed across the northern hemisphere (known as Laurasia), with the oldest fossil recently described from Burmese amber which is about 95 million years old! Of the two genera, Rotoita is fully winged and occurs across New Zealand in forested habitats, whereas Chiloe is small and wingless and found only in southern Chile and mostly on the island of Chile.

map of distribution

Biology

Adults are associated with Sphagnum moss but otherwise their biology is unknown. It seems likely that they attack the eggs of the moss bug family Peloridiidae, which have a similar distribution in the southern Hemisphere and are also associated with mosses. Adult Chiloe have a fine plastron of hairs over their body that protects them from getting wet in these damp habitats. In collections in yellow pan traps, they can even survive submersion in soapy water and alcohol as seen in the accompanying video links.

Economic Importance

None known.