Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 13 - Encyrtidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera) - Introduction

Noyes, JS 1988. Encyrtidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera). Fauna of New Zealand 13, 192 pages.
( ISSN 0111-5383 (print), ; no. 13. ISBN 0-477-02517-X (print), ). Published 09 May 1988


The family Encyrtidae is one of the largest in the Chalcidoidea, comprising nearly 3200 described species. Almost all species are internal parasites of other insects, spiders, mites, or ticks. Most are solitary primary parasites but many are gregarious, polyembryonic, or hyperparasitic. Within the Chalcidoidea the encyrtids, along with the Aphelinidae, have been the most utilised in biological control, particularly of homopterous pests. It is therefore perhaps surprising that, as with most groups of Hymenoptera Parasitica, the family has received very little attention in New Zealand. Indeed Valentine (1970) noted only 25 described species from these islands, and a further 60 undescribed endemic species.

The first New Zealand encyrtid to be noted in the literature was mentioned by Kirk (1898), when he found an unnamed species (recorded as Tetracnemus) parasitising Pseudococcus longispinus (Targioni-Tozzetti) (recorded as Dactylopius adonidum) on vines and ferns in a greenhouse at Mount Eden, Auckland. This parasite was later described as Tetracnemus brounii by Timberlake (1929), who had earlier (1916) described Aphycus claviger from two females and a male collected at Auckland; this latter species is still known only from the type-series. Since then, three genera and four species have been described from the mainland and offshore islands, viz Antipodencyrtus procellosus Kerrich (1964), Aphycomorpha aspidioti Tachikawa & Valentine (1969a), Adelencyrtoides novaezealandiae Tachikawa & Valentine (1969b), and Zealandencyrtus yasumatsui Tachikawa & Valentine (1971). A further seventeen described species have been recorded from New Zealand, plus four undetermined species recorded in specified genera. Seven of these were introduced for biological control purposes (see below).

In 1980-1981, as a result of an exchange visit organised with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, I had the opportunity to collect and study New Zealand Encyrtidae. This revision results from a detailed study of all the material available to me, and is intended to enable students and field workers alike to attempt to identify any encyrtids that they may encounter. To that end I have constructed keys to facilitate identification, and have outlined the best techniques for rearing, collecting, and preserving specimens. Also provided are notes relating the genera and species found in New Zealand to the world fauna.

A world-wide review of encyrtid hosts is given by Tachikawa (1970, 1974c, 1978, 1981). Observations on the biology of Encyrtidae in New Zealand are very scant and lacking in detail. The available information is noted for each species, and supplementary notes are added from information published in other parts of the world. The most comprehensive sources of information on Encyrtidae are given by Trjapitzin (1973a, b) for overall classification; Trjapitzin (1971a) for the Palearctic; Trjapitzin & Gordh (1978a,b) and Gordh (1979) for the Nearctic; Annecke & Insley (1970) and Prinsloo & Annecke (1979) for the Afrotropical region; Noyes (1980) for the Neotropical region; and Noyes & Hayat (1984) for the Indo-Pacific region.

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