Diversity and phylogeny of Australian chelonine wasps (Hymenoptera: Braconidae); parasitoids of lepidopteran eggs

Rebecca Kittel *1, John Jennings 1, Andy Austin 1

1 School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia

The Cheloninae is a diverse subfamily of braconid wasps which has a global distribution. There are about 1,300 described species but only 42 are recorded in four genera for Australia, virtually all of which are from the eastern coastal margin. Chelonines are egg/larval parasitoids of Lepidoptera and they can be easily distinguished from other braconids by the presence of a metasoma carapace, where the first three tergites are fused into a dorsal plate. Species vary in the number of antennal segments as well as having putatively diagnostic colour patterns, particularly for the genus Phanerotomella. This study aims to assess the taxonomic diversity of the subfamily for Australia and the phylogeny of genera and species groups using sequence data and morphology, in addition to documenting their host associations and biogeographic pattern across the continent. Here we present our preliminary findings on diagnosing species boundaries using the CO1 gene and morphology to indicate levels of species diversity at specific localities.

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