This site has been generated by the Wharton Lab, Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University. The research focus is primarily parasitic Hymenoptera, especially members of the families Braconidae and Ichneumonidae. Within the Braconidae, emphasis is on the subfamilies Opiinae and Alysiinae, whose members are exclusively parasitic on cyclorrhaphous Diptera. Within the Ichneumonidae, emphasis is on the Ctenopelmatinae. From the host perspective, considerable information has been assembled here (see also PAROFFIT.org) on parasitoids of fruit-infesting Tephritidae, including pages for quite a few taxa outside the Braconidae and Ichneumonidae.
With well over 23,000 valid, extant species, the family Ichneumonidae ranks as the largest in the Order Hymenoptera. The family Braconidae is also one of the largest within the Hymenoptera, with nearly 18,000 valid species. Members of the superfamily Ichneumonoidea (Ichneumonidae plus Braconidae) are parasitoids of other arthropods, usually laying their eggs on or in the host. Ichneumonid larvae complete their development on a single host, killing it in the process. They are thus fairly typical parasitoids, while at the same time exhibiting a wide variety of host/parasitoid interactions as befitting their tremendous species-level diversity. Braconidae are similar, but a few species are also gall makers. Braconids, and to a lesser extent ichneumonids, are routinely used as biological control components of pest management programs. Several species, such as Microplitis croceipes (Cresson), Microplitis demolitor Wilkinson, Toxoneuron nigriceps (Viereck), Cotesia congregata (Say), Campoletis sonorensis (Cameron) and Venturia canescens (Gravenhorst), have been used widely as models for elucidating interactions between hosts and their koinobiont endoparasitoids.
The content for this site has been jointly developed by many current and former members of the Wharton Lab. You can contact Bob Wharton with comments, concerns, or corrections about the content. This page was last modified September, 2011.