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Department of Entomology


Reclassification of Parasitoid Superfamily Platygastroidae at Long Last

Sep. 15, 2021
Fig. 8  Habitus images of exemplar taxa of the families Platygastridae, Proterosceliopsidae, Sparasionidae and Scelionidae

After 15 years of work, the reclassification of the wasps studied in Dr. Norm Johnson's lab is published!

The superfamily Platygastroidea (Hymenoptera: Proctotrupomorpha) is a diverse group of parasitoid wasps that are parasitoids of nine orders of insects as well as spiders. They appear to show a clear pattern of host group specificity among genera. A robust phylogeny is essential for devising a stable and informative classification and understanding the pattern of the shifts to parasitize new host groups. We conducted phylogenetic analyses of Platygastroidea based on four molecular markers (18S28SCOI and wingless) and 119 morphological characters, and a phylogenomic analysis of a subset of taxa based on 4371 single-copy, protein-coding genes. The four-gene analyses, both with and without morphological data, robustly recovered some well-established groups, e.g., Platygastridae (in its traditional sense), Scelionini, Teleasinae and Telenominae, as well as some novel patterns of relationship. The ground-plan host for the superfamily are the eggs of Orthoptera, with multiple shifts to attack new host groups. The phylogenomic analysis of a subset of taxa recovered a clear pattern of relationships for the backbone of the superfamily with maximal bootstrap support. Based on the combination of these two approaches, we present a revised classification for Platygastroidea and recognize the following eight families: Geoscelionidae stat.rev., Janzenellidae fam.nov., Neuroscelionidae fam.nov., Nixoniidae stat.rev., Platygastridae stat.rev., Proterosceliopsidae†, Scelionidae stat.rev. and Sparasionidae stat.rev.

This published work has been registered on ZooBank,

Chen, H., Lahey, Z., Talamas, E.J., Valerio, A.A., Popovici, O.A., Musetti, L., Klompen, H., Polaszek, A., Masner, L., Austin, A.D., Johnson, N.F. 2021. An integrated phylogenetic reassessment of the parasitoid superfamily Platygastroidea (Hymenoptera: Proctotrupomorpha) results in a revised familial classification. Systematic Entomology, 46(4), 1088-1113.