Braconid parasitoids

Braconidae is a large family of parasitoid wasps. Our ongoing braconid research aims to identify a species-level phylogeny of the subfamily Rogadinae, particularly the species that make up the genus Aleoides.

A mummified caterpillar

A mummified caterpillar skin

Finding and identifying these tiny wasps is vital when carrying out phylogenetic studies. 

Thankfully Aleiodes wasps lay their eggs in caterpillars which then pupate inside its abdomen. Parasitism like this leaves mummified caterpillar skins that are much easier to find. The wasps inside can then be reared to adulthood for identification. 

This novel collection method is currently being used in a tropical area of Thailand. By combining DNA data with morphology, our results have already identified

  • several new Rogadine genera 
  • nearly 160 new species

Entomology project staff