Ensign wasps (Hymenoptera: Evaniidae) are colourful, frequently collected and easily distinguished from other parasitic Hymenoptera. Despite many fascinating biological attributes, this group of insects has been overlooked by ecologists and systematists. An imposing obstacle inhibiting research on these wasps is the current state of their chaotic and potentially flawed classification, which has more than 50% of all described species assigned to the genus Evania- a taxon long suspected of being polyphyletic. The generic classification has recently been redefined on the basis of morphological characters. We tested this reinterpreted classification by analysing sequence data from three genes [28S ribosomal RNA (rRNA), 16S rRNA and cytochrome oxidase I (COI)] under parsimony and Bayesian criteria. For the 28S and 16S rRNAs, we illustrate the predicted secondary structures and provide a series of summary statistics for them; information pertaining to these structures was incorporated into our phylogenetic analyses where appropriate. Phylogenetically, our results indicate that this new generic classification is relatively sound, but that more data are required to understand intergeneric relationships.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science