This large Family (1937 described NA spp) is abundantly represented at Cedar Creek as it is throughout temperate North America. Most are parasitoids on other insects, some demonstrate polyembryony (a single egg dividing repeatedly producing numerous genetically identical individuals, and a few are hyperparasites. Many species are apparently able to deposit either male (haploid) or female (diploid) eggs depending among other things on the size of the host. John Luhman has provided/confirmed many of the generic determinations. Few have been determined to species but it is suspected that more than 100 species have been collected. Much undetermined material remains. This family will be discussed by subfamily.
The Doryctinae are principally external parasites of wood boring Coleoptera, while a few attack Lepidoptera and Symphyta larvae. Genera collected include Doryctes, Heterospilus, and Spathius.
The Braconinae are predominantly external parasites of concealed larvae of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera though a few are parasitic on sawflies and Cecidomyiid midges. The most commonly collected genus is Bracon spp. Other genera collected include Atanycolus, Habrobracon,Cyanopterus, and Iphiaulax.
The Exothecinae are external parasites of concealed larvae of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera, and a few attack the Symphyta. Genera collected include Oncophanes, Gnaptodon,Hormius, Rhysipolis?, and Pambolus?.
The Rogadinae are internal parasites of Lepidoptera larvae. Rogas ca four spp is the most commonly encountered genus.
Many of the Helconinae are large red and black woodland species with an excavation atop the head. They are internal parasites of wood boring Coleoptera. Genera collected include Coenocoelius and Helcon?
The Zeleinae are internal parasites of Lepidoptera. A few specimens of Zele collected.
The Macrocentrinae are solitary or gregarious internal parasites of Lepidoptera larvae. Macrocentrus is a commonly collected genus
The Agathidinae are internal parasites of Lepidoptera larvae. They are dark-bodied (some with orange markings) and have dark wings with a short marginal cell and an elongate snout-like face. Genera collected include Cremnops, Agathis, Crassomicrodus, and Earinus. Aenigmostomus longipalpis has an extremely long snout. These species are routinely swept in modest numbers from CCESR old fields.
The Alysiinae are internal parasites of Diptera larvae. Their outwardly directed mandibles enable them to escape from the puparia of Diptera. Genera collected include Alysia? (Sarcophagidae), Aphaereta?, Phaenocarpa?, Chorebus, Coelinidea, and Dacnusa (Agromyzidae).
The Cheloninae are the second most commonly collected subfamily of Braconids in CCESR old fields. Species are small, dark, and robust with a carapace-like abdomen. Species of Chelonus, Microchelonus, Ascogaster, and Phanerotoma are common in a variety of CCESR old fields. Most of these species oviposit in the egg of the Lepidopterous host and complete their larval development when the host larva is nearly mature.
Most of the Braconids swept from CCESR old fields belong to this subfamily. Most are internal parasites of Lepidopterous larvae. Species of Apanteles (incl. Cotesia, Glyptapanteles) emerge en masse from larger caterpillars. Other common genera collected are Microgaster, Diolcogaster, Microplitis , and Cardiochiles.
Species of Blacinae attack moth and beetle larvae and a few attack beetle adults. Schizopyrmnus texanus and Urosigalphus resemble species of Chelonus in having a carapace-like abdomen. Other genera collected include Orgilus spp and Blacus sp.
Elasmosoma? sp attacks adult ants. Questionable ID.
The Euphorinae are internal parasites of Lepidoptera larvae, Hemiptera and Psocoptera nymphs, and adult Coleoptera. Genera collected include Meteorus (leps), Leiophron, Microctonus, Dinocampus, and Perilitus? (coccinellids).
Marsh, PM (1963) A key to the nearctic subfamilies of the family Braconidae (Hymenoptera). Ann. Ent. Soc. Amer 56:522-527.
Marsh, PM (1971) ...key to genera of Braconidae, Aphidiidae, and Hybrizontidae...Ann. Ent. Soc. Amer.
Matthews, RW (1974) Biology of Braconidae. Ann. Review Entomology :15-32.
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