Extrapolations from field studies and known faunas converge on dramatically increased estimates of global microgastrine parasitoid wasp species richness (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)
Correspondence: James B. Whitfield, Department of Entomology, University of Illinois, 320 Morrill Hall, 505 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801, USA. E-mail: email@example.com
- We extrapolate a new range of estimates of the species richness of Microgastrinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) wasps, a diverse group of small parasitoids that attack caterpillars of Lepidoptera.
- Our estimates, using an array of focal study faunas to provide reasonable bounds for minimum and maximum values, range from 17 000 to 46 000+ species. These calculations make use of a geographically relatively constant proportion of the total number of local caterpillar species to species of Microgastrinae, and extend what is known from better studied areas to those less thoroughly studied.
- This new estimate of species richness for Microgastrinae is 8–20 times that of the ∼2000 currently described species, and 2–10 times greater than that of previously published estimates.