Neotropical Meteorus Haliday (Hymenoptera: Braconidae): Current knowledge and ongoing research

Monday, November 17, 2014: 10:48 AM
Portland Ballroom 255 (Oregon Convention Center)
Helmuth Aguirre-Fernandez , Ecosystem Science and Management, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
Scott R. Shaw , Ecosystem Science and Management, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY
The cosmopolitan genus Meteorus is represented in the Neotropical Region by 69 species, mainly from Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador, but this is a low estimation of the actual number. A hot spot for the Meteorus richness is located between 1500 and 2000 meters, corresponding with the distribution of tropical montane forests. Biological records are available for 35 Neotropical species, most of them develop as koinobiont endoprasitoids of exposed-feeding Lepidoptera caterpillars, although a small fraction attack semi-concealed hosts. Caterpillars protected with stiff setae are frequently targeted by Meteorus, especially by gregarious species. Megadiverse countries such as Brazil, Bolivia and Peru have not been as extensively studied for Meteorus diversity and further exploration is needed from those areas. The construction of a comprehensive and illustrated key for the Neotropical Meteorus species is an ongoing project being conducted at the University of Wyoming Insect Museum.