(suborder Apocrita, superfamily Bethyloidea)
Family of small to medium-sized wasps (usually less than 8 mm long), which are usually black, with an elongate head, and slightly elbowed, 12- or 13-segmented antennae. The wing venation is reduced, and the hind wing has a jugal (see jugum) lobe. The females of many species are apterous and ant-like, and a few will sting. The habits of the family are very diverse, but in most cases no true nest is made; the host larva (a small lepidopteran or coleopteran) is dragged to a sheltered location where more than one egg may be laid. The larvae are external parasites, and having matured will spin a silken cocoon. These wasps are often considered intermediate between true parasitoid (see hyperparasite) and fossorial families.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.