Alternative life-history styles of mutillid wasps (Insecta, Hymenoptera)

  • Denis J. Brothers
Part of the Perspectives in vertebrate science book series (PIVS, volume 6)


Although the Mutillidae is one of the largest families of wasps, life history and other biological information on the group is very scanty. Sexual dimorphism is generally very marked, and, as far as is known, all species are external parasitoids of the resting immature stages of other insects found within some protective structure. Alternative life-history styles within species are unknown (except for sexual differences), but alternative styles are followed by different species within the family, in terms of utilization of hosts belonging to different taxa, modifications of dispersal abilities of the wingless females, differentiation of size according to sex and the determination of such differences, and the number of individuals developing on each host individual. These alternatives are briefly surveyed.

Key words

Host Parasitoid Phoresy Sexual dimorphism Vagility 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denis J. Brothers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and EntomologyUniversity of NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa

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