Indian Fauna of Pteromalidae
Pteromalidae (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea)

Family Pteromalidae

The classical work by Graham, 1969 marked historical impression on the classification of Pteromalidae. The family was summarized with 15 subfamily divisions: Cleonyminae, Macromesinae, Ceinae, Spalangiinae, Cerocephalinae, Diparinae, Neodiparinae, Eunotinae, Asaphinae, Chrysolampinae, Panstenoninae, Miscogasterinae, Pteromalinae, Cratominae, and Colotrechninae. The subfamily Pteromalinae includes the largest number of genera followed by Miscogasterinae. The commonly collected ones are Spalangiinae, Cleonyminae, Miscogasterinae, and Pteromalinae. Pteromalinae attack Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, and Hymenoptera; many species are hyperparasitoids. Members of Cleonyminae are primarily larval parasites of wood beetles however for other subfamilies: Spalangiinae and Miscogasterinae are parasitic on Diptera, Eunotinae parasitic on eggs of coccids, and Asaphinae are secondary parasites of aphids, psyllids, and coccids.

Salient keys for pteromalid identification

  • Key to subfamilies/key to European genera (Graham, 1969).
  • Key to the Indian genera (Farooqi & Subba Rao, 1985).
  • Key to genera of Australasian Pteromalidae (Boucek, 1988).
  • Key to the genera of Pteromalinae of Indian Subcontinent (Sureshan, 2003).
  • Key to the genera of Pteromalidae of India and the adjacent countries (Sureshan & Narendran, 2004).

Economic importance:

Marked importance in bicontrol programs as well as in evolutionary studies. Parasitic on insects that ravage livestock and crops and trigger human diseases. Some key players of biocontrol: Pteromalus puparum (L.) a well documented pupal endoparasitoid of Papilionidae, Pieridae and Nymphalidae; Anisopteromalus calandrae (Howard) and Lariophagus distinguendus (Forster) parasite of beetles associated with stored grains; Dinarmus basalis (Rondani) parasitic on Callosobruchus chinensis (L.), C. maculatus (Fab.) and Trogoderma granarium Everts and Spalangia cameroni Perkins parasitic on many families of dipteran flies. The most studied Nasonia is an emerging genetic model system for evolutionary and developmental genetics. These wasps are used in basic evolution research with the potential for practical applications in future. They are addressed as "smart bombs" by John Werren, 2010 (leader, International Nasonia Genome Working Group), as they target many insects, including varied species of house flies, blow flies and flesh flies. In India, Nasonia vitripennis (Walker), parasitic on synanthropic muscids and calliphorids, is the most commonly encountered species.


  • Boucek, Z. 1988. Australasian Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera). C. A. B. International, Wallingford, U.K. pp. 832.
  • Boucek, Z.; Subba Rao, B.R. & Farooqi, S.I. 1979. A preliminary review of Pteromalidae (Hymenoptera) of India and adjacent countries. Oriental Insects 12(4): 433-467.
  • Farooqi, S.I. & Subba Rao, B.R. 1985. Family: Pteromalidae pp. 254-263. In Subba Rao & Hayat (Eds.). The Chalcidoidea (Insecta: Hymenoptera) of India and the adjacent countries Part. I. Review of families and keys to families and genera. Oriental Insects 19: 161-310 & 15 pp.
  • Farooqi, S.I. & Subba Rao, B.R. 1986. Family: Pteromalidae pp. 279-306. In Subba Rao & Hayat (Eds.). The Chalcidoidea (Insecta: Hymenoptera) of India and the adjacent countries Part. II. A catalogue. Oriental Insects 20: 1- 430.
  • Graham, M.W.R. de V. 1969. The Pteromalidae of north-western Europe (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) (Entomology) Supplement 16 pages: 908 pp, 686 figs.
  • Noyes, J.S. 2012. Universal Chalcidoidea Database. World Wide Web electronic publication.
  • Sureshan, P.M. 2003. Pteromalinae (Pteromalidae: Chalcidoidea: Hymenoptera) of Indian Subcontinent. Rec. Zool. surv. India. Occ. Paper No. 205: 1-170.
  • Sureshan, P.M. 2007. Taxonomic studies on Pteromlaidae ( Hymenoptera : Chalcidoidea ) of Southeast Asia based on collections of Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, USA. Rec. Zool. surv. India. Occ. Paper No. 268: 1-42.
  • Sureshan, P.M. & Narendran, T.C. 2003. A checklist of Pteromalidae (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) from the Indian subcont inent. Zoos' Print Journal 18(5): 1099-1110.
  • Sureshan, P.M. & Narendran, T.C. 2004. Key to the genera of Pteromalidae of India and the adjacent countries (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea). Rec. Zool. surv. India. Occ. Paper No. 229: 1-56.
  • Sureshan, P.M. 2012. Checklist of Pteromalidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) of India. Zoological Survey of India, Western Ghats Regional Centre, Kozhikode, Kerala, India. (Updated as on 31st May 2012).
  • Werren, J.H. 2010 (January 15th ). Parasitic wasps' newly sequenced genomes reveal new avenues for pest control, provides insights into evolution, genetics.