Known diversity of Microgastrinae wasps worldwide:
- 3,163 extant species and 82 extant genera. For a complete list of the world genera and species, which is updated weekly, check our tab "Microgastrinae Species" (http://microgastrinae.myspecies.info/microgastrinae/microgastrinae).
- 12 extinct species and 3 extinct genera. The fossil species are listed separately, see left block on this page (http://microgastrinae.myspecies.info/content/fossil-species).
The numbers presented above only reflect the species and genera that have been formally described. The actual diversity of Microgastrinae is much higher than presently known, and it has been estimated to be between 5,000–10,000 species (Mason, 1981) or up from 17,000 to 46,000+ species (Rodriguez et al., 2013). Obviously, these estimates vary considerably: if the lowest one (3,617) were accurate, then we would already know 82% of the Microgastrinae species; if the highest one (46,620) were accurate, then the described species would represent only 6% of the actual diversity worldwide. Which estimate is more likely to be correct?
While a definite answer cannot be provided, some refinement of the current estimates is possible. The lowest range (3,000–5,000 species) is clearly too low based on what is currently known. Despite its limited geographical coverage, Microgastrinae public BINs already represent 3,545 putative species. But, even if DNA data is disregarded, we have certainly seen in collections a few thousand undescribed species, which are clearly distinct based on morphological features alone. In that sense, Mason’s estimate of 10,000 species seems very reasonable.
Top 30 genera of Microgastrinae (number of described species)
[Last update: 2023-08-17]
Microgastrinae species described since 1758 based on data in Fernandez-Triana et al. (2020). (A). Total numbers per decade; (B). Cumulative number (1758–2019).
Fernandez-Triana J, Shaw MR, Boudreault C, Beaudin M, Broad GR (2020) Annotated and illustrated world checklist of Microgastrinae parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera, Braconidae). ZooKeys 920: 1-1089. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.920.39128
Mason WRM (1981) The polyphyletic nature of Apanteles Foerster (Hymenoptera: Braconidae): A phylogeny and reclassification of Microgastrinae. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada 113(S115): 1–147. https://doi.org/10.4039/entm113115fv
Rodriguez JJ, Fernández-Triana J, Smith MA, Janzen DH, Hallwachs W, Erwin T, Whitfield JB (2013) Extrapolations from field studies and known faunas converge on dramatically increased estimates of global microgastrine parasitoid wasp species richness (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Insect Conservation and Diversity 6(4): 530–536. https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12003