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The Families and Subfamilies of Canadian Chalcidoid Wasps

The superfamily Chalcidoidea, commonly called chalcids or chalcid flies, is a large group of mostly small parasitic or phytophagous insects within the suborder Apocrita or the Hymenoptera. It is an economically important group of insects, because most of the larvae eat insects, thus helping to control or suppress insect pest populations on forest and agricultural crops (Clausen 1940).
This superfamily is recognized as among the numerically largest insect groups and is an extremely diverse assemblage, united mainly on the structure of the pronotum and very reduced wing venation (Riek 1970). The chalcidoids now equal the number of described species of Ichneumonidae and are estimated at over 100 000 species by current workers. The number of world genera of Chalcidoidea has been estimated at 2000 (Noyes 1978). In America north of Mexico, there are about 2000 species known from 466 genera and 18 families (Boucek in Peck et al 1964), or 11 families (Burks in Krombein et al 1979). In Canada alone, there are about 380 Genera and 800 species (Peck 1951, 1963; Burks 1958, 1967, 1979; Yoshimoto 1979).
The purpose of this manual is to assist amateur and professional entomologists, technical assistants, and students to recognize the families and subfamilies of chalcidoids, primarily through the use of illustrated keys. This book also contains a discussion and glossary of anatomical terms used in chalcidoid taxonomy, a section on general biology, and a discussion of the biology of each family and subfamily. Keys to the families and subfamilies are included. Subfamily treatments include a discussion of the tribes and genera known to occur in Canada.