Microplitis Foerster

Ranjith, A. P., Rajesh, K. M. & Nasser, M., 2015, Taxonomic studies on Oriental Microplitis Foerster (Hymenoptera: Braconidae, Microgastrinae) with description of two new species from South India, Zootaxa 3963 (3), pp. 369-415: 375-376

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Microplitis Foerster


Genus Microplitis Foerster  

Microplitis Foerster 1862   : 24.5. [Type species, by original designation, Microgaster sordipes Nees   von Esenbeck, 1834; Nixon 1965: 7; Nixon 1970: 3; Mason 1981: 132; Austin & Dangerfield 1992: 42; Chen & Song 2004: 221 [See Shenefelt (1973: 737) for bibliography.]

Dapsilotoma Cameron 1906: 101. Type species, Dapsilotoma testaceipes Cameron   , by monotypy, 1906, synonymy by Viereck 1914: 25.

Glabromicroplitis Papp 1979: 176. [Type species: Glabromicroplitis mahunkai Papp 1979   ].

Diagnosis (after Austin & Dangerfield 1993). Clypeal margin concave to straight; eyes large and densely setose; width of face (at widest) 0.5 × width of head; labial palps nearly always with three segments, rarely with four segments; pronotum with lateral furrow; mesoscutum usually with some sculpturing, sometimes completely smooth; notauli variable, ranging from virtually absent to strongly impressed and coarsely sculptured; posterior band of scutellum usually wide and smooth, interrupted medially by rugosity; prepectal carina absent; propodeum usually convexly rounded, rarely composed of two faces meeting transversely and then not at an acute angle, virtually always with a distinct percurrent medial keel, never with an areola, surface coarsely sculptured, usually rugose to reticulate-rugose; hind coxa usually small, shorter than T 1; hind tibial spurs subequal in length, short, usually reaching less than 0.3–0.4 × distance to hind basitarsus; fore wing usually infuscated, with 1 -R 1 short, not reaching to SR 1; 1 CU- 1 variable in length but always shorter than 2 CU- 1; r-m present; vannal lobe convex and setose throughout; metasoma with T 1 much longer than wide, often parallel sided or tapering towards apex; suture between T 2 and T 3 faintly defined or absent, if defined then T 2 usually shorter than T 3, rarely equal in length; sometimes with indistinct median field on T 2; metasoma apart from T 1 smooth; hypopygium usually well sclerotised, never membraneous and expandable, sometimes elongate medially; ovipositor usually very short, often slightly down-curved throughout length, sheaths rarely protruding much beyond apex of hypopygium, nearly always with long hairs on exposed part, often setose apically.

Distribution. Cosmopolitan ( Shenefelt 1973; Wilkinson 1930).

Biology. This is one of the most apomorphic genus of the subfamily Microgastrinae   and Shaw & Huddleston (1991) in their work include specific comments on the genus Microplitis   . In brief, the genus contains both solitary and gregarious species that oviposit into the early stages of mostly exposed host larvae. There are usually three larval instars, sometimes four (e.g. M. demolitor   ), which complete development and emerge from the host larva by the latter's final instar. For the solitary species, the host larva is only partially eaten, and the host survives for a period of time after the emergence of the parasitoid. The cocoon of the emerged parasitoids is formed beneath or beside the dead or dying host ( Song & Chen 2008).

Many species of the genus are important natural enemies, and some have been used in biological control, for example, Microplitis mediator (Haliday)   against Heliothis armigera (Hübner)   in China (Li et al. 2004). Indian Microplitis   species are, as far as is known, solitary parasitoids, usually of Noctuidae   . The exceptions are those species reared from Erebidae   : M. demolitor Wilkinson   reared from Laelie obsoleta (Fab.)   in Australia, and in this study we reared Microplitis narendrani   sp. nov. and M. pennatulae   sp. nov. from P. pennatula   . Microplitis maculipennis (Szépligeti)   is a natural biological control agent of castor semilooper Acanthodelta janata (Linnaeus) ( Gupta 2013)   . Microplitis   species are attacked by several hyperparasitoids, Mesochorus pilicornis ( Cameron)   ( Ichneumonidae   : Mesochorinae   ) and Brachymeria secundaria (Ruschka)   ( Chalcididae   ) ( Prabhakar & Prasad 2005). Microplitis narendrani   sp. nov. and M. pennatulae   sp. nov. are also attacked by an unidentified species of Brachymeria   ( Chalcididae   )

The species placed in the genus Microplitis   can be separated using combinations of the following character states (see Table 1 View TABLE 1 ). Note that some characters states, denoted by ‘?’, are unknown in species that we have not been able to examine.

1 Notauli: 0; faintly indicated 1; deeply impressed.

2 Medial furrow on mesoscutum: 0; present 1; absent 2; indistinct. 3 Percurrent medial longitudinal carina of propodeum: 0; distinct 1; indistinct. 4 Shape of T 1: 0; parallel sided 1; sub-parallel sided or widening posteriorly 2; narrowing posteriorly. 5 Sculpturing of scutellum: 0; rugose 1; rugulose 2; micropunctured. 6 Medial longitudinal groove on T 1: 0; present 1; absent.

7 Longitudinal carina between antennal sockets: 0; present 1; absent. 8 Sculpturing of propodeum: 0; coarsely rugose 1; reticulo-rugose. 9 Median field of T 2: 0; present 1; faintly indicated 2; absent.

10 Sculpturing of hind coxa: 0; smooth 1; striate basally 2; sculptured or punctate basally. 11 Terminal flagellomere: 0; acute 1; blunt.

12 Sculpturing of face: 0; smooth 1; rugose or rugulose 2; punctate. 13 Body colour: 0; black 1; reddish brown.

14 Lateral temples in anterior view: 0; hidden 1; slightly visible. 15 Scutellar lunules: 0; narrow 1; wide.












Microplitis Foerster

Ranjith, A. P., Rajesh, K. M. & Nasser, M. 2015


Chen 2004: 221
Austin 1992: 42
Mason 1981: 132
Shenefelt 1973: 737
Nixon 1970: 3
Nixon 1965: 7