Featured Chalcidoids
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Family- Torymidae


Torymidae are a diverse family of chalcid wasps that can be easily recognized by their metallic body color, large hind coxae, and long ovipositor in females. This long ovipositor is used to deposit eggs onto or into their hosts. Torymidae specialize in parasitizing hosts in concealed habitats including gall-making insects and the eggs of praying mantises. They range in size from roughly 1 mm to 7 mm in length. Prior to 2017, the family was grouped into two subfamilies, Megastigminae and Toryminae. Molecular systematics suggested instead that the two subfamilies were unrelated and Megastigminae are now recognized as their own family, Megastigmidae (Janšta et al. 2017 DOI:10.1111/cla.12228). Torymidae now holds 49 genera and 890 extant species.


Torymidae are biologically extremely diverse and comprise fundamentally different life styles including: endoparasitoids of different gall-inducers on various plants (trees or herbs), parasitoids of praying mantid eggs in their egg cases (Mantodea), and ectoparasitoids of bee larvae living in twigs and stems or of larvae of bark beetles. They have also been found as endoparasitoids of the eggs of true bugs, butterfly pupa, and others (i.e. Strepsiptera parasites). Some of these life styles/host types are restricted to a single tribe or closely related tribes, whereas some have evolved convergently and are scattered throughout the family.


A variety of cynipid (wasp) and midge (fly) galls that serve as hosts of Torymidae


The following describes morphology that is useful in identifying a parasitic wasp belonging to the family Torymidae. Their tarsi have 4 or 5 tarsomeres. Both sexes tend to large hind coxa. Torymidae have bodies with metallic luster and are much longer than 1 mm. Females in Torymidae exhibit the most noticeable and easily identifiable body part which is their long ovipositor used for laying eggs.


Torymus rubi by Petr Janšta


Torymus bedguaris by Petr Janšta


Torymus sp. by Chris Grinter

Credit to Gall Photos: “Oak gall IMG_0751” by nojhan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/ “Oak Apple” by Alan Vernon. is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0/”Andricus fecundator 20100802130439” by NATT-at-NKM is licensed under CC BY 2.0/”gall-midge, Rhabdophaga strobiloides (family Cecidomyiidae)” by Joe Boggs (https://bygl.osu.edu/node/436)