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Cocoons of cuckoo wasps (Hymenoptera: Chrysididae): First overview of morphology reveals unexpected traces of taxonomy

Martynova, Kateryna V.
Zoologischer Anzeiger 2020 v.285 pp. 122-138
Chrysididae, cocoons, hosts, parasitism, taxonomy, teats
Cocoons of cuckoo wasps (Hymenoptera: Chrysididae) are complex and diverse formations. They usually bear various specific structures: patches, coverings, arches, coasters, pores, nipples, internal discs and transverse opercula. These are named and thoroughly described for the first time in this contribution. Presence of specific structures distinguishes cuckoo wasps of different genera and species-groups, while species can be differentiated by location, shape and appearance of these characteristic formations. Eleven morphological types of cocoons are established for the studied cuckoo wasps, but more types are expected to be described. Each cocoon type herein proposed is named, characterized and discussed. Thus, the morphological similarity of cocoons can be sometimes recorded for related cuckoo wasps parasitizing close hosts, in other cases, it may be shown for various species that live on the expense of different hosts, and occasionally the cocoons of close taxa appear to be different in structure. The correlation between previously established relationships and the cocoon structure is shown for separate taxa of Chrysididae. General characteristics, features and variability of chrysidid cocoons are discussed.