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Acta zoológica mexicana

versión On-line ISSN 2448-8445versión impresa ISSN 0065-1737

Acta Zool. Mex vol.26 no.1 Xalapa abr. 2010


Notas científicas


Melittobia digitata Dahms (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) and Monodontomerus mexicanus Gahan (Hym.: Pteromalidae) on a nest of Trypoxylon (Trypargilum) mexicanum (Saussure) (Hym.: Crabronidae) collected near Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico


Jorge M. GONZÁLEZ1 *, Emilio ACOSTA V.2 Carlo SORMANI2 & S. Bradleigh VINSON1


1 Texas A & M University, Department of Entomology, Entomology Research Laboratory, College Station, Texas 77843–2475, USA. * Correspondent E–mail:

2 Instituto de Ecología, A.C., Ap. Postal 63, 91000, Xalapa, Veracruz, MEXICO.


Recibido: 11/05/2009
Aceptado: 18/09/2009



In a mud–nest built by Trypoxylon mexicanum, collected near Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, we recorded the presence of two parasitoids Monodontomerus mexicanus (Pteromalidae) and Melittobia digitata (Eulophidae), and one ant: Solenopsis geminata (Formicidae). The pteromalid is reported for the first time from Veracruz while the eulophid is reported from Mexico attacking another hymenopteran. The presence of an ant inside an empty cell is possibly just a coincidence.


During June 2008 short trips were done in Veracruz to collect muddauber nests built by Sceliphron and Trypoxylon wasps (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae, Crabronidae), as well as fruits attacked by fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae). The main purpose of those collecting trips was to try to find parasitoids of the genus Melittobia (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) attacking muddauber wasps and possibly fruit flies. After bringing all collected nests to the Instituto de Ecología (INECOL) laboratories for analysis, the contents of one nest of Trypoxylon (Trypargilum) mexicanum (Saussure) caught our attention.

This nest was collected from the eave of a house [Emiliano Zapata, Veracruz state, México. N19° 26.7' W96° 46.9', 890 m]. This solitary wasp was originally described (as T. albitarse var. mexicana Saussure, 1867; Not T. mexicanum Saussure, 1867 = T. saussurei Rohwer, 1912) from Orizaba, Veracruz, México (Coville 1982). The species is known to occur from Veracruz, México to Central America, but also in Hispaniola (Rau 1940; Rau 1943; Coville 1982; Genaro 2007).

The species was identified from an adult that emerged later at INECOL. The nest clearly resembled those of T. (T. ) politum Say in the US (Rau & Rau 1916; Rau 1940; Cross et al. 1975) and was formed by two parallel tubes (A & B), with an incipient (and empty) one on top of both starting cells of tubes A & B. The nest contained 8 cells (4 per tube) and they were the following:

Tube A:

Cell 1: 11 specimens of at least 3 different undetermined species of Araneidae, were found inside. The number of spiders found somehow coincides with those previously found in cells of T. (T.) mexicanum in Jacala, Hidalgo (Rau 1943).
Cell 2: With a cocoon containing a prepupa of T. (T.) mexicanum (Saussure).
Cell 3: With a cocoon containing an adult T. (T. ) mexicanum (Saussure) ready to emerge from the pupal skin.
Cell 4: Entrance cell; open to the outside.

Tube B:

Cell 1: It contained a cocoon of T. (T.) mexicanum filled with several individuals of Monodontomerus mexicanus Gahan (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae) (2 males and 18 females). The parasitoid is distributed from Mexico to Panama (Grissel 2000). It does not appear among the Mexican Chalcidoidea mentioned by González–Hernández (2000), but Ruiz–Cancino et al. (2004) lists the species for the country. The species was originally described from 7 males and 20 females reared from T. (T.) mexicanum collected at Jacala, Hidalgo, and it is also known from Chiapas, Guerrero and Zacatecas, parasitizing several Hymenopterans (Gahan 1941; Grissell 1979; Grissell 1995; Grissell 2000; Rau 1947; Torchio 1974). As far as we know, this is the first record of M. mexicanus for Veracruz.
Cell 2: Empty, except for the presence of a single immature spider (Araneidae).
Cell 3: With 9 males and 298 macropterous females of Melittobia digitata Dahms (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) inside a cocoon of T. (T.) mexicanum. Melittobia digitata is known to occur only in North America, parasitizing several insect orders (Dahms 1984; González et al. 2008; Matthews et al. 2009). The parasitoid species was previously reported from Mexico parasitizing Mexican fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae: Anastrepha ludens Loew) (Copeland et al. 2008; González et al. 2008; Matthews et al. 2009) but this is the first record of M. digitata attacking a Hymenoptera in this country.
Cell 4: Cell open to the outside containing a dead specimen of Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius). This ant species is widely distributed in the Americas (Bolton 1995; Creighton 1930; Trager 1991). Even though the arthropod fauna associated to mud dauber nests is frequently similar, very well known and constitutes an intricate food web (Matthews 1997), it is not uncommon that other insects not associated to such food web can be eventually encountered inside the mud nests (González & Vinson 2007). This specimen was possibly a scout from a nearby colony and its presence was probably just a coincidence.



We thank the TAMU–CONACyT Collaborative Research Grant program, project 100108. The first author wish to thank Martín Aluja, Alberto Anzures, Andrea Birke, Larissa Guillén, Rafael Ortega Casas, Juan Rull, students and personnel of the Applied Entomology Unit of Instituto de Ecología, A.C. Xalapa, Veracruz, México, for their help at different stages of the project, as well as their kindness and attention to the first author while in Mexico. Thanks also to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and corrections.



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