Orussidae

Taxonomy

Superfamily: Orussoidea
Family: Orussidae
Family common name: parasitic wood wasps
Subfamilies: Ophrynopinae, Orussinae

Background

Orussidae is a rarely collected family with some unique forms and behaviors (Vilhelmsen 2004). The larvae are parasitic and feed on wood-boring beetle larvae. Adults are easily recognized by the low insertion of the antennae on the face, truncate apical antennal segments, and the reduced wing venation (Middlekauff 1983).

Diversity

Orussidae includes 18 genera and 88 species worldwide. About 4 genera and 12 species are Nearctic in distribution (Taeger et al. 2018).

North American genera

Kulcania
Ophrynon
Ophrynopus
Orussus

Diagnostic characteristics

Host associations

In North America, Orussidae feeds on species of beetle in the family Buprestidae (Goulet 1992).

May be confused with

Orussidae can be distinguished from other families by the antennal insertion location lower than the compound eye (Goulet 1992).

Life history

Orussidae sawflies oviposit into larvae of wood-boring beetles, through the bark of the host tree. The sawfly larva feeds on the developing beetle larva and then pupates and emerges from the tree (Middlekauff 1983).

Distribution

World: This family is most diverse in the Southern Hemisphere, in tropical Africa, Madagascar, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, New Guinea, Australia, and tropical South America, but is also found in North America, Europe, and Japan (Middlekauff 1983, Vilhelmsen 2004).

North America: Orussidae occurs throughout the United States and into southern Canada, south into Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean Islands (Middlekauff 1983).

Orussus occidentalis female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Orussus occidentalis female lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Kulcania mexicanus male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Kulcania mexicanus male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Ophrynon sp. male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Ophrynon sp. male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Ophrynopus nigricans male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA

Ophrynopus nigricans male lateral habitus; photo by J. Orr, WSDA