Indian Platygastroidea

Platygastroidea is the third largest superfamily in Hymenoptera. It is represented by species in almost all parts of the world except the polar regions. Phylogenetic analysis conducted by Murphy et al 2007 and Sharkey et al (2007) resulted in the have merger of the families Scelionidae and Platygastridae into one family Platygastridae based on priority. This family Platygastridae has five subfamilies, viz. Teleasinae, Telenominae, Scelioninae, Sceliotrachelinae and Platygastrinae. The first three subfamilies are exclusively egg parasitoids, parasitizing the eggs of Lepidoptera, Heteroptera, Orthoptera, Embioptera, Coleoptea, Odonata, Mantodea and spiders. Platygastrinae are known to parasitize the eggs and early larval stages of gall midges while Sceliotrachlinae are parasitoids of eggs of Coleoptera such as weevils, chysomelids, longicorn beetles, etc in addition to larvae of white flies (Aleyrodidae), aphids, plant hoppers and mealybugs (Pseudococcidae).

Approximately 5800 species under 270 genera are described worldwide. In India 65 genera with 340 species are described so far. A single genus Mudigere is endemic to India. Body size of these wasps range from 0.5 – 12 mm. They may be apterous, micropterous or macropterous. They are generally black or brown, with few being yellow in color. As these are generally egg parasitoids, they have the potential as biological control agents. As they have high host searching ability, high reproductive rates and absence of hyperparasitism, they are good candidates for biological control in the field. Trissolcus basalis was used against Nezara virudula (Pentatomidae) on vegetables which gave complete control and is one of the landmark examples in biological control. Scelio serdangensis and S. pembertoni were used as biological agents against Oxya chinensis on sugarcane in Hawaii. Chortoicetes terminifera (Locust) in Australia was partially controlled using Scelio fulgidus. Some of Telenomus spp. such as T. beneficiens against Tryporyza novella in Taiwan on sugarcane, T. thirathaba against Thirathaba complex on coconut in Fiji, T. festivae on Eurygaster integriceps on wheat in Turkey have given partial control of the pests.