HomeFigsFig waspsBiologyFig classificationWasp classificationWaspWebBiodiversity Explorer

Classification of fig wasps

(Life: Kingdom: Metazoa (animals); Phylum: Arthropoda; Class: Hexapoda; Order: Hymenoptera;  Superfamily: Chalcidoidea)

In contrast to Bouček’s (1988) classification where fig wasps were united under the single family Agaonidae, subsequent phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that the Agaonidae as defined by Bouček was paraphyletic. Three of the constituent subfamilies of non-pollinating fig wasps (Sycoecinae, Otitesellinae and Sycoryctinae) were reassigned to the Pteromalidae, leaving the pollinating fig wasps in the Agaonidae (Rasplus et al. 1998; Campbell et al. 2000. Agaonidae were further split into 3 subfamilies (Cruaud et al. 2010). Subsequently the Sycophaginae were shown to be a sister clade to the Agaonidae and were included in this family and the remaining group of non-pollinating fig wasps (Epichrysomallinae) was placed in the Pteromalidae (Heraty et al. 2013). Recent analyses (Burks et al. 2022; Cruaud et al. in press) demonstrated that the subfamily Sycophaginae belongs to the Pteromalidae and that the Epichrysomallinae deserves family rank. The Sycoecinae, Otitesellinae and Sycoryctinae were reduced in rank status within a revised concept of Pteromalidae with all three taxa included in the tribe Otitesellini in the subfamily Pteromalinae (Burks et al. 2022). Consequently the ranking of these three former subfamilies is now treated as being at subtribe level. The former tribes within the old concept of Sycoryctinae: Apocryptini, Philotrypesini and Sycoryctini no longer exist.


Bouček, Z. (1988) Australasian Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera). A biosystematic revision of genera of fourteen families with a reclassification of species. C.A.B. International, United Kingdom, 832 pp.

Burks R, Mitroiu M-D, Fusu L, Heraty JM, Janšta P, Heydon S, Papilloud ND-S, Peters RS, Tselikh EV, Woolley JB, van Noort S, Baur H, Cruaud A, Darling C, Haas M, Hanson P, Krogmann L, Rasplus J-Y. 2022. From hell’s heart I stab at thee! A determined approach to rendering Pteromalidae (Hymenoptera) monophyletic. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 94:13-88. https://doi.org/10.3897/jhr.94.94263

Campbell, B., Heraty, J., Rasplus, J. Y., Chan, K., Steffan-Campbell, J. & Babcock, C. (2000) Molecular systematics of the Chalcidoidea using 28S-rDNA. In: Austin A. D. & Dowton M. (Ed) The Hymenoptera: Evolution, Biodiversity and Biological Control, CSIRO Publishing, Canberra, pp. 59–73.

Cruaud, A., Jabbour-Zahab, R., Genson, G., Cruaud, C., Couloux, A., Kjellberg, F., van Noort, S. & Rasplus, J.Y. 2010. Laying the foundations for a new classification of Agaonidae (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea), a multilocus phylogenetic approach. Cladistics 26: 359-387.

Cruaud, A., Jabbour-Zahab, R., Genson, G., Kjellberg, F., Kobmoo, N., Van Noort, S., Da-Rong, Y., Yan-Qiong, P., Ubaidillah, R., Hanson, P.E., Santos-Mattos, O., Farache, F.H.A., Pereira, R.A.S., Kerdelué, C. & Rasplus, J.Y. 2011. Phylogeny and evolution of life-history strategies in Sycophaginae non-pollinating fig wasps (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea). BMC Evolutionary Biology 11: 178. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-11-178.

Heraty, J. M., Burks, R. A., Cruaud, A., Gibson, G. A. P., Liljeblad, J., Munro, J., Rasplus, J.-Y., Delvare, G., Janšta, P., Gumovsky, A., Huber, J., Woolley, J. B., Krogmann, L., Heydon, S., Polaszek, A., Schmidt, S., Darling, D. C., Gates, M. W., Mottern, J., Murray, E., Dal Molin, A., Triapitsyn, S., Baur, H., Pinto, J. D., van Noort, S., George, J. and Yoder, M. 2013. A phylogenetic analysis of the megadiverse Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera). Cladistics. doi: 10.1111/cla.12006

Rasplus J.Y., Kerdelhué, C., Le Clainche I. & Mondor, G. (1998) Molecular phylogeny of fig waps (Hymenoptera). Agaonidae are not monophyletic. Compte Rendu de l’Académie des Sciences de Paris, 321, 517–527.

Segar ST, Lopez-Vaamonde C, Rasplus J-Y, Cook JM. 2012. The global phylogeny of the subfamily Sycoryctinae (Pteromalidae): Parasites of an obligate mutualism. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 65: 116-125. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2012.05.030 PubMed: 22683561.

Wiebes, J.T. 1966. The structure of the ovipositing organs as a tribal characters in the Indo-Australian Sycophaginae Torymidae (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea). Zoologische Mededeelingen, Leiden. 41:151-159.


Photographs © Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa).

Web authors Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum)

and Jean-Yves Rasplus (INRA, France)


Citation: van Noort, S. & Rasplus, JY. 2024. Figweb: figs and fig wasps of the world. URL: www.figweb.org(Accessed on <day-month-year>).

Copyright 2004-2024 Iziko Museums of South Africa

website statistics