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UK Nature > Wasps > Braconidae




Scientific Name: Braconidae
Common Name: Braconid Wasp

The Braconidae is a large family of parasitoid wasps. There are approximately 17,000 recognized species and many thousands more undescribed. One analysis estimated a total between about 30,000 and 50,000, and another provided a narrower estimate between 42,000 and 43,000 species.

The morphological variation among braconids is notable. Braconids are often black-brown (sometimes with reddish markings), though some species exhibit striking coloration and pattern, being parts of Mullerian mimicry complexes. They have one or no recurrent veins, contrarily to other members of the Ichneumonoidea which usually have two.

Females often have long ovipositors, a fact which is closely related to the host species upon which the wasp deposits its egg. For instance, species that parasitize microlepidoptera have longer ovipositors, presumably to reach the caterpillar through layers of plant tissue. Some wasps also have long ovipositors because of caterpillar defense mechanisms such as spines or hairs.











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