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Chalcid Wasps    Chalcidoidae

Chalcid wasps are part of the super family Chalcidoidea, part of the order Hymenoptera.  It is a large insect family having some 22,000 known species, with many more expected to be found.  In North America, there are currently 2600 catalogued species grouped into 22 families and 700 genera.

The insects in the group are wasp-like in appearance with hind legs having greatly enlarged femurs.  The wings are practically veinless.  They are small in size, averaging 2-3 mm in length, though some may be 12 mm or longer.

Chalcids are parasitoids of other insects, such as flies, beetles, moths, butterflies, leaf hoppers, and scale insects.  The adults lay their eggs in the chrysalis of other insects.  When the wasp larvae hatch from the eggs, they feed on the embryonic or larval form in the chrysalis.  The wasp larvae form pupae inside the chrysalis.  When the pupae mature, adult wasps emerge from a hole in the chrysalis.  Overall, many of these insects are considered beneficial in destroying injurious insects.

The images on this page show the species Conura amoena.  They were taken in Deep Creek in Charlotte County.