Skip to main content

Hammering homoplasy: multiple gains and losses of vibrational sounding in cryptine wasps (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae)

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Many hosts of parasitic wasps are, when attacked, either at an immobile stage, living in a concealed environment, or both, thus making their detection especially difficult. Cryptine ichneumonid wasps often parasitize beetle or moth larvae, prepupae or even pupae in tunnels in wood, and many others attack cocooned hosts in various states of concealment. The structure of the antennal tips shows a range of adaptations at least the most extreme of which appear to be involved in locating deeply concealed hosts through vibrational sounding (= echolocation through solid media). We show that, within the Cryptinae, the tips of the antenna are modified into a hammer-like structure that is suitable for knocking a substrate; this form of echo-location is typical to the tribe Cryptini, although it is also found in a few phygadeuontines and in the hemigastrine genus Echthrus. Electron micrographs are presented to illustrate the different degrees of antennal modifications found in the subfamily. Comparative analysis using independent contrasts was then used to demonstrate a statistically significant association between degree of antennal hammer development and attacking, typically wood-boring, beetle hosts of the families Cerambycidae and Buprestidae. © 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 96, 82–102.

Keywords: antennae; antennal hammers; cryptinae; echolocation; host; parasitoid; wood-borer

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Museum of Natural History, Entomology Division, PO Box 17 (P. Arkadiankatu 13), 00014-University of Helsinki, Finland 2: Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, UK

Publication date: 2009-01-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more