Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

ICHNEUMONIDAE: : Poecilocryptus Cameron 1901


The most definitve character is the metasoma inserted very high on the end of the propodeum.

Characteristics of Poecilocryptus include: 1. Body size <10mm; 2. Position of spiracle on T1 at, close to, or before centre; 3. Shape of aerolet in forewing pentagonal (closed); 4. Colour of face not all black; 5. Metasoma compressed dorsal-ventrally; 6. Size of ocelli small; 8. Length of ovipositor as long, or longer than body; 9. Wings present; 10. Colour of wings hyaline (clear); 11. Sternaulus absent; 12. Shape of face in lateral view flat or only weakly bulging; 13. Sternite on T1 (viewed laterally) not extending past spiracle; 14. Shape of T1 (viewed laterally) evenly curved; 15. Number of teeth in mandibles 2; 16. Metasoma same colour throughout; 17. Length of T1 vs T2 subequal in length; 18. Sculpture on mesoscutum smooth and finely pitted, many hairs; 19. Width of T1 (viewed dorsally) uniform width (slightly widening posteriorly); 20. Glymma on T1 absent; 21. Sculpture on metasoma smooth, polished; 22. Propodeum reaching past coxal insertion, but not reaching halfway along metacoxae.

Similarity to Other Taxa

With body colouration and a long ovipositor, Poecilocryptus could be confused with species of Lissonota. However, Poecilocryptus has, i) large and pentagonal areolet in the forewing (triangulate in Lissonota), ii) the metasoma is inserted very high on the end of the propodeum, and iii) lacks a lobe on the metapleuron.

Distribution in NZ

South Island: FD.

Species in NZ

One endemic species: Poecilocryptus zealandicus Ward 2011.

Biology & hosts

Poecilocryptus have an unusual biology, being associated with a variety of galls (Gauld & Holloway 1986). Little is known about their biology but there is strong evidence that they oviposit into nutritious plant tissue and that the larvae are partially phytophagous.

Before Poecilocryptus zealandicus was discovered in New Zealand, the genus was thought to be endemic to Australia. Poecilocryptus zealandicus is known from only one specimen caught at Simonin Creek, in the Upper Pyke River, Fiordland. The host is not known.

Sources of information

Gauld ID. 1984. An Introduction to the Ichneumonidae of Australia. London, British Museum (Natural History). 413 p.
Ward DF. 2011. Poecilocryptus zealandicus sp. n. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae: Labeninae) from New Zealand. New Zealand Entomologist. 34: 37-39.
Ward DF, Early JW, Schnitzler FR, Hitchmough RA, Stringer IAN. 2012. Conservation status of New Zealand Hymenoptera. New Zealand Entomologist 35 (2):116-119.


Ward DF & Schnitzler FR. 2013. Ichneumonidae of New Zealand. Genus Poecilocryptus
Accessed: 13 July 2020


v1.0. Ward DF & Schnitzler FR. 2013