Molecular and morphometric phylogenetics of Dryinidae and Bethylidae (Hymenoptera, Chrysidoidea)

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Aculeata (Hymenoptera) is largely known for its bees, ants, and social wasps, from which most people would immediately recognize honey bees and paper wasps. However, sister to the clade of Apoidea and Vespoidea is the much smaller, and infinitely more enigmatic Chrysidoidea, which contains seven extant families that are relatively understudied. Unlike the other superfamilies, Chrysidoidea is exclusively parasitic -- although this behavior ranges from ectoparasitoidism to endoparasitoidism to cleptoparasitism (targeting solitary wasps and bees), as seen in Chrysididae (the cuckoo wasps). Dryinidae, which contains about 1700 species worldwide in 16 subfamilies, are parasitoids of Auchenorrhyncha (leafhoppers, planthoppers, and their allies) and are known to attack major rice and fruit crop pests. In Chapters II and III, the relationships within the family were investigated at the subfamily level. In Chapter II, a phylogeny reconstructed from 18S, 28S, Cytochrome Oxidase I (COI) and Cytochrome b (CytB) resulted in the resurrection of Thaumatodryinus to Thaumatodryininae to preserve the monophyly of Dryininae. Chapter III examined the utility of landmark analysis in parsimony using the methods implemented by Catalano et al. (2010) and subsequent publications. The trees constructed from the landmark analyses were incongruent with the combined molecular and morphological phylogeny, but landmark analyses could be utilized effectively to reconstruct species-level phylogenies for Dryinus and Gonatopus, both of which were found as nonmonophyletic in Chapters II and III. Chapters IV and V focused on Epyris, the largest genus within the subfamily Epyrinae, and Bethylidae as a whole. Epyris has long been suspected of being a taxonomic wastebasket, but the molecular phylogeny reconstructed from 16S, 18S, 28S, COI, and CytB is the first phylogeny to sample the worldwide breadth of its species diversity. Epyris was shown to be nonmonophyletic, although the type specimen, Epyris niger Westwood, was recovered in a clade with a distinct synapomorphy of large, nearly touching, scutellar pits. In Chapter V, five new species from Epyris sensu stricto were described from Western Australia and Queensland, and a key was provided to the known female Epyris of Australia.
ix, 166 pages : illustrations (chiefly color)
Dryinidae., Bethylidae., Chrysidoidea., Morphology., Phylogeny -- Molecular aspects.