Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 33 - Moranilini (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae: Eunotinae) - Introduction

Berry, JA 1995. Moranilini (Insecta: Hymenoptera). Fauna of New Zealand 33, 82 pages.
( ISSN 0111-5383 (print), ; no. 33. ISBN 0-478-04538-7 (print), ). Published 08 May 1995


The higher classification of the group of microhymenoptera known as chalcidoids has a confused history. Use of the name Chalcidoidea dates from Ashmead (1899), who upgraded the family Chalcididae to superfamily rank, recognising 14 constituent families. Since that time the number of families recognised has ranged from one (Handlirsch 1925) to 24 (Nikol'skaya 1952). At present 21 families are generally accepted as valid (Bouček 1988a).

The family Pteromalidae is one of the largest in the Chalcidoidea, consisting of about 3000 (2800: Grissell & Schauff 1990; 3100: Gauld & Bolton 1988) morphologically and biologically diverse species. Although the pteromalids have always been recognised as a discrete group within the chalcidoids, their history is far from straightforward. Family composition varies from author to author, and now includes many subfamilies which were formerly ranked as separate families, e.g., Cleonyminae, Spalangiinae, Miscogasterinae, Ormocerinae, Pireninae, and Sphegigasterinae (Bouček 1988b). Other groups currently accorded family rank have at times been included as subfamilies in the Pteromalidae, e.g., Perilampidae, Eucharitidae, and Ormyridae. Grissell & Schauff (1990) regard the Pteromalidae as the most artificial grouping within the Chalcidoidea, and according to Heraty & Darling (1984) the family is a repository for monophyletic groups not readily placed elsewhere and not considered to warrant separate family status. The family Pteromalidae undoubtedly includes many highly specialised smaller groups, which makes it almost impossible to define the features held in common. Bouček (1988b) cites examples of character states diagnostic of most pteromalids, but recognises that there are no universally diagnostic features. Some subfamilies stand out as being particularly apomorphic, but can be recognised as being related to successively less derived groups (detailed in Bouček 1988b).

The eunotines were first mentioned as a group by Walker (1872), who called them a 'small, distinct family.' They were formally called the subfamily Eunotinae by Ashmead (1904), who included the genera Anysis Howard, Cardiogaster Motschulsky, Cephaleta Motschulsky, Euargopelte Fōrster, Eurycranium Ashmead, Eunotus Walker, Mnoonema Motschulsky, Muscidea Motschulsky, Scutellista Motschulsky, and Solenoderus Motschulsky. Of these only Scutellista and Cephaleta occur in Australasia (both probably introduced from the Oriental region), and none have been recorded from New Zealand.

Diagnosis of the Eunotinae

The most recent definition of the group (Bouček 1988a) lists the following character states, the combination of which diagnoses the subfamily Eunotinae:
  • head and genae carinate;
  • male antennae with 4 funicular segments;
  • female antennae usually with 5 funicular segments;
  • notauli always complete;
  • thorax usually with paired setae;
  • 1st gastral tergite usually at least half length of gaster.
In his revision Bouček erected three tribes of Eunotinae:

Eunotini - characterised by regular, short pilosity over the entire scutellum and by the posterior of the scutellum being produced over the propodeum. Five genera, all from the Northern Hemisphere, but two with secondarily Australasian distributions.

Tomocerodini - characterised by the scutellar pilosity being restricted to two pairs of setae (usually), and the second gastral tergite being longer than the first. One genus of two species (one undescribed), which occurs only in Mexico and Arizona.

Moranilini - characterised by the first gastral tergite being the longest, usually covering more than half the gaster. Sixteen genera, almost exclusively southern in distribution.

The tribes Eunotini and Tomocerodini are thus Northern Hemisphere (Nearctic) in distribution, and the Moranilini are almost exclusively southern (Oriental and Australian).

Of the 16 moraniline genera included in Bouček's 1988a revision, only two were relatively speciose: Ophelosia Riley (15 species) and Moranila Cameron (10 species). Aphobetus Howard had four species and Tomicobomorpha Girault two species. The remaining 12 genera were monotypic. Such a high level of monotypy suggests (a) that many species in these genera have yet to be collected, and/or (b) that the generic concept used is not correct, i.e., the monotypic genera may be derived members of larger genera, having been separated on the basis of one or two autapomorphies, but which more properly belong in larger genera.

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