Kulcania

Taxonomy

Family: Orussidae
Family common name:parasitic woodwasps
Subfamily: Ophrynopinae
Genus: Kulcania Benson, 1935
Subgenera: none

Background

The Orussidae are small, mostly black sawflies with cylindrical bodies and globular heads (Eaton and Kaufman 2007). They are distinctive as the only sawfly family that is parasitic on other insects (Furniss and Carolin 1977). Current phylogenies of Hymenoptera position the Orussidae as the most closely related extant sawfly family to the Apocrita, and specifically parasitic wasps (Vilhelmsen 2004).

Kulcania are 8–14 mm in length (Furniss and Carolin 1977). They share several remarkable morphological characters with other Orussidae, including antennal insertions located extremely low on the face, reduced wing venation, and a relatively long and thin ovipositor (Vilhelmsen et al. 2014). This genus is relatively rare in collections and little known (Blank et al. 2010).

Diversity

There are only two described species worldwide, and both are restricted to the New World (Taeger et al. 2010).

A key to the world species of Kulcania are included in Vilhelmsen and Smith 2002.

Diagnostic characteristics

May be confused with

Orussidae are morphologically distinct among sawfly families because of the body shape and location of antennae on head. Kulcania, however, can be easily confused with other genera of the family. It can be distinguished by the shape of the mesoscutellum, fringe on the first tergite, and the short maxillary palpi. Kulcania also has a restricted range in North America (Vilhelmsen and Smith 2002).

Exotic pest species of concern

none

Host associations

The Orussidae are external parasitoids of other insects, however there are currently no host records for Kulcania. One specimen is recorded from Cyrilla racemiflora (swamp titi) in Florida, but it is not known if the insect was just found on the plant or emerging from it (Vilhelmsen and Smith 2002).

Life history

The biology of Kulcania species is unknown, as few specimens have been collected and/or observed (Vilhelmsen and Smith 2002). For a description of the life history of a closely related sawfly in the Orussidae, see Orussus.

Distribution

World: Outside of North America, Kulcania is only recorded in Columbia in South America (Fernandez 1995).

North America: Kulcania occurs in Costa Rica, Mexico, and the southern United States (Vilhelmsen et al. 2013).

Map data from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (USNM)

Details about data used for maps can be found here.

Kulcania sp. female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Kulcania sp. female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Kulcania tomentosa female dorsal habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Kulcania tomentosa female dorsal habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Kulcania tomentosa female face; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Kulcania tomentosa female face; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Kulcania mexicanus male lateral habitus; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Kulcania mexicanus male lateral habitus; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Kulcania tomentosa male dorsal habitus; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Kulcania tomentosa male dorsal habitus; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Kulcania tomentosa male face; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Kulcania tomentosa male face; photo by Q. Baine, WSDA

Kulcania tomentosa fore wing; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Kulcania tomentosa fore wing; photo by J. Orr, WSDA