Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps


Compiler and date details

1 December 2011 - Danielle N. Stringer, John T. Jennings & Andrew D. Austin, Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity, and the School of Earth and Environmental Science, The University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


This very large family probably comprises more than 1,500 species in Australia; however, only 433 have been described. Ichneumonids are morphologically very diverse. They range from very small (1.5 mm) to very large (120 mm) wasps with most species having relatively complete venation. They are closely related to Braconidae but can be distinguished from them most obviously by several wing vein characters and metasomal terga 2 and 3 being free and moveable, not fused.

Ichneumonids are most diverse in cool wet habitats such as in the south-eastern parts of Australia. Adults are commonly seen at flowers or searching for hosts around tree trunks, logs, vegetation, or in litter. Biologically, the group is very diverse. They can be ecto- or endoparasitic, parasitising the larvae, prepupae or pupae of various endopterygote insects, and more rarely spiders and spider egg sacs. Lepidopteran (moth and butterfly) larvae are the most common hosts in Australasia, and numerous species have been introduced as biological control agents. Some species are hyperparasitoids.

Gauld (1984) revised the genera of Australia, presented a synopsis of their morphology, biology and classification, and gave keys to subfamilies and genera. Wahl and Sharkey (1993) provided a key to world subfamilies.

Jennings & Austin (2015) list 31 unidentified species from Lord Howe Island in the Australian Museum.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
25-Jul-2012 MODIFIED