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Rhopalosomatidae is a family of Hymenoptera containing about 68 extant species in four genera that are found worldwide.[1] Three fossil genera are known.[2][3]

Olixon spec.jpg
Olixon sp.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Superfamily: Vespoidea
Family: Rhopalosomatidae
Brues, 1922

See text

The adults resemble ants and may be confused with them. They are yellowish with red or brown markings, but may be all brown in colour. Winged species are usually nocturnal, while wingless or reduced-wing species are mainly diurnal. They are solitary, and the larvae are ectoparasitic on orthopteran nymphs. Adults have the tips of two or more antennal segments with spines. The hindwing (when present) has distinct claval and jugal lobes. The metatibia has a calcar or curved spur.[4]

Rhopalosoma is a New World genus (17 spp.) with most species from Central and South America. Olixon (26 spp.) is distributed through Africa and Australia and the New World. Paniscomima (11 spp.) is known from India, Madagascar, Africa, and Southeast Asia.[5][6] Most species of Liosphex (14 spp.) are found from the southern US to Central and South America, with one species, L. trichopleurum, known from the Philippines and Indonesia. Mesorhopalosoma cearae is a fossil known from Brazil.[7]


The family has four extant and three extinct genera:[8][9]


  1. ^ Lohrmann, L & Ohl, M (2010). "World revision of the wasp genus Liosphex Townes, 1977 (Hymenoptera: Rhopalosomatidae)". Zootaxa. 2384 (2384): 1–43. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.2384.1.1.
  2. ^ Engel, MS (2008). "The Wasp Family Rhopalosomatidae in Mid-Cretaceous Amber from Myanmar (Hymenoptera: Vespoidea)". Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society. 81 (3): 168–174. doi:10.2317/JKES-712.11.1.
  3. ^ Brues, CT (1926). "Note on the Hymenopterous Family Rhopalosomatidae". Psyche. 33: 18–19. doi:10.1155/1926/94196.
  4. ^ Goulet, H; Huber, JT, eds. (1993). Hymenoptera of the world: an identification guide to families. Agriculture Canada. p. 205.
  5. ^ Guidotti, A E (1999). Systematics of little known parasitic wasps of the family Rhopalosomatidae (Hymenoptera: Vespoidea) (PDF). Unpublished thesis, University of Toronto.
  6. ^ Guidotti, A E (2007). "A revision of the wasp genus Paniscomima(Hymenoptera: Rhopalosomatidae)and a proposal of phylogenetic relationships among species". Invertebrate Systematics. 21 (4): 297–309. doi:10.1071/is04027.
  7. ^ Darling, DC & Sharkey, MJ (1990). "Insects from the Santana Formation, Lower Cretaceous, of Brazil. Hymenoptera". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 195: 123–153.
  8. ^ Krogmann, Lars; Austin, Andrew D.; Naumann, Ian D. (2009). "Systematics and biogeography of Australian rhopalosomatid wasps (Hymenoptera: Rhopalosomatidae) with a global synopsis of the enigmatic genus Olixon Cameron". Systematic Entomology. 34 (2): 222–251. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3113.2008.00460.x.
  9. ^ Lohrmann, V. & A.S. Kroupa (2012). "Genus Olixon". Rhopalosomatidae of the world. Version 1. Published on the Internet. Retrieved 16 May 2015.[permanent dead link]

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