Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps


Parasitic Wasps

Compiler and date details

22 June 2012 - Danielle N. Stringer, Sarah Mantel, 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

15 January 2003 - N.B. Stevens, M. Iqbal & A.D. Austin, Centre for Evolutionary Biology & Biodiversity (CEBB), The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia


The superfamily Platygastroidea comprises three families in Australia, the Scelionidae, Platygastridae, and more recent Neuroscelionidae. They are mostly small to tiny wasps (0.5-7 mm) that have greatly reduced wing venation. In many respects and particularly given their species richness in most habitats, they are one of the poorest known groups of parasitic Hymenoptera. The checklist for Australia records 625 valid species, although this is probably less than 25% of the actual fauna. Recently, a revision of the best known genus, Scelio Latreille (Dangerfield et al. 2001), nearly doubled the number of described species, and a study of the genus Ceratobaeus Ashmead (Iqbal & Austin 2000) increased the number of known species by nearly four fold with additional species still to be described. The monophyly of the superfamily is well established based on specialised antennal structures and the morphology of the female ovipositor system (Austin & Field 1997), but the family Scelionidae is probably not a natural grouping. All members are endoparasitoids of the egg stage of insect or spider hosts, and numerous species have been employed as biological control agents of pest Orthoptera, Lepidoptera and Heteroptera.

An integrated phylogeny of the Platygastroidea was provided by Chen et al. (2021) which revised the classification of the subfamily and recognised eight families globally.

Limital Area

Distribution data in the Directory is by political and geographic region descriptors and serves as a guide to the distribution of a taxon. For details of a taxon's distribution, the reader should consult the cited references (if any) at genus and species levels.

Australia is defined as including Lord Howe Is., Norfolk Is., Cocos (Keeling) Ils, Christmas Is., Ashmore and Cartier Ils, Macquarie Is., Australian Antarctic Territory, Heard and McDonald Ils, and the waters associated with these land areas of Australian political responsibility. Political areas include the adjacent waters.

Terrestrial geographical terms are based on the drainage systems of continental Australia, while marine terms are self explanatory except as follows: the boundary between the coastal and oceanic zones is the 200 m contour; the Arafura Sea extends from Cape York to 124 DEG E; and the boundary between the Tasman and Coral Seas is considered to be the latitude of Fraser Island, also regarded as the southern terminus of the Great Barrier Reef.

Distribution records, if any, outside of these areas are listed as extralimital. The distribution descriptors for each species are collated to genus level. Users are advised that extralimital distribution for some taxa may not be complete.


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)
07-Aug-2012 07-Aug-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)