Brown Braconid Wasp
Dull Black Braconid Wasp


Family Braconidae - Braconid Wasps

Order Hymenoptera 

This page contains pictures and information about Braconid Wasps that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
One way to distinguish them from Ichneumon Wasps is that the Braconid Wasps 2nd recurrent vein of the fore wing is absent.
Members in this Braconidae family have long and thin body, long antenna and some with very long ovipositor. They have narrow waist like most other wasps. They are from small to medium in size, usually smaller than those in Ichneumonidae.
Braconid Wasp larvae are parasitic and most caterpillars are targeted host. The female wasp usually locates the food plants of the host then searches with her antennae for the host. The female has the long ovipositor which is used to insert eggs into the host's body. The host will usually survive when the larvae is still living inside. Until the larvae fully grown, the wasp larvae either pupates inside the dead host or form a cocoon outside.
The two families Braconidae and Ichneumonidae are very close related and some species look similar. They can be distinguished by the forewing venation. In the Ichneumons there is an extra vein creating a cell which can not be found on Braconids. 
Many aphid parasites are Braconid and their life cycles are similar. 

Subfamily Doryctinae
Most Wasps in subfamily Doryctinae are ectoparasitic on larvae of wood-boring and bark-mining Coleoptera. Some are parasitic on moth or sawfly larvae. There are the reduced wing species in this subfamily.
Subfamily Braconinae - Orange Braconid Wasps
Braconid wasp in this subfamily are often black, red, orange and white in colours. Their wings are often dark or yellow-banded. They are from small to medium size. Females have the extended ovipositor. Their larvae are mostly external parasitic on moth caterpillars but several species are also known to parasitise concealed beetle, fly and sawfly larvae.
Subfamily Opiinae
Wasps in this Subfamily Opiinae are small in size, often orange or yellow in colours. Most of them are parasitic on larvae of fruit flies.
Subfamily Aphidinae (Aphidiinae)
Wasps in this Subfamily are very small, about 1mm in body length. The larvae are internal parasites of aphids, pupate inside the host.
Subfamily Helconinae
Braconid Wasps in subfamily Helconinae are endoparasites of Coleoptera larvae. 
Subfamily Agathidinae (Agathidiinae)
Braconid Wasps in this subfamily are from small to medium size. They are usually orange in colour with black and orange wings. Larvae are internal parasites of moth caterpillars.
Subfamily Microgastrinae
Braconid Wasps in subfamily Microgastrinae are dark brown to black in colours. They are small in size. They are the parasitoids of moth caterpillars.
Unknown Braconid
Please send us email if you can identify the following unknown Braconid Wasps.

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, p945.
2. Northern Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009,
3. Wasps - family Braconidae -, by Nick Monaghan.
4. Family BRACONIDAE - Australian Faunal Directory, Australian Biological Resources Study. 
5. What wasp is that? - An interactive identification guide to the Australasian families of Hymenoptera, 2007. 
6. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p269. 
7. Braconine wasps of Australia - Quicke, D.L.J., Ingram, S.M. (1993), Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 33 (1): 299-336.
8. Illustrated key to the subfamilies of the Braconidae (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonoidea) - C. van Achterberg, 1993, Zoologische Verhandelingen Vol. 283 p. 1-189. 
9. Braconine wasps of Australia - Quicke, D.L.J., Ingram, S.M. (1993), Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 33 (1): 299-336.

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Last updated: September 09, 2012.