Contributions to Zoology, 80 (3) – 2011David Baracchi; Leonardo Dapporto; Stefano Turillazzi: Relevance of wing morphology in distinguishing and classifying genera and species of Stenogastrinae wasps

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Abstract

The phylogeny of the Stenogastrinae wasps is still under discussion and their systematic incomplete. In the present work we used geometric morphometrics, a technique based on a rigorous statistical assessment of shape, to compare the forewings of fifteen species of Stenogastrinae wasps belonging to four different genera to ascertain whether this approach may be used as a reliable method in the study of the taxonomy of the group. The results show that the wing vein junctions can be diagnostic for both genus and species identification. For the first time in this subfamily, we propose a phylogenetic classification of the species based on wing morphology that largely agrees with the cladistic data available at genus level and reflects the differences among species in terms of nesting material and architecture of their nest.