Common Name: Fairy wasp
Scientific Name: Mymar tapobancium (Ward, 1875)
Authors: Angela Alvarez, Gloria J Stewart, Joshua M Hogan, Sandor L Kelly, Ryan D Ridenbaugh
Parasitic wasps in the family Mymaridae, known as the fairy wasps or fairyflies, include some of the smallest known species of insects. Because of this, not much information has been collected on them. There are 98 species in the genus Mymar. They mate right after they emerge from their host, and the female departs soon afterwards. The lifespan of Mymar is extremely short, averaging around five days, meaning they may only have one chance to mate.
Mymar tapobancium is found nearly worldwide. There have been recorded sightings in Russia, southern Europe, Japan, southeastern Asia, Africa, Australia, North and Central America, Columbia (Triapitsyn and Berezovskiy 2001), India (Hyat 1992), and the Arabian peninsula (Jesu and Vigiani 2004; Huber et al. 2009).
All Mymar species are extremely small. They have delicate bodies with two membranous forewings and two reduced hind wings. The forewings have feather like hairs lining their edges. The antennae distinguish Mymar tapobancium from other species of Mymar. First, females have a flagellum with a 6-segmented funicle and 1-segmented clava. Males, however, have an 11-segmented filiform flagellum.
There is not much known about the biology of Mymar tapobancium so I will discuss its relationship to its hosts. Mymar parasitize insect eggs, often found inside plant tissue or in the soil, before the embryo has made any substantial development. Mymar are often genus specific when regarding their host. Mymar tapobancium is one of the only species of Mymar whose host is known. Mymar tapobancium parasatizes the eggs of Hemiptera: Delphacidae (Taguchi 1974) and Cicadellidae (Chandra 1980; Subba Rao and Hayat 1983). Egg parasitoids are very important and play a key role in pest management.
Mymaridae are very useful as biological control agents because they attack the eggs of insect pests of agriculture. They can wipe out entire generations of species giving farmers a better chance of successfully growing their crops. Mymar species have been introduced to New Zealand, Tasmania, other parts of Australia, and Hawaii where they have had mixed results in affecting local pests. However, in Africa, a species of Mymar was able to control the eucalyptus snout beetle, Gonipterus scutellatus Gyllenhal. It took many years, but the success was all because of these fairy wasps.
- Bayegan ZA, Lotfalizadeh H, Zargaran MR, Pooraiiouby R (2014) New record of a genus and species of Mymaridae (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) from Iran. http://journals.tubitak.gov.tr
- Manickavasagam S, Rameshkumar A (2011) First report of three genera of fairyflies (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae) from India with description of a new species of Dicopus and some other records. http://www.mapress.com
- Virla EG (2001) Notes on the biology of Anagrus breviphragma (Hymenoptera, Mymaridae), naural enemy of the corn leafhopper Dalbulus maidis (Hemiptera, Cicadellidae) and others plant diseases vectors in South America. https://www.researchgate.net
- Huber JT (1986) Systematics, biology, and hosts of the Mymaridae and Mymarommatidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera): 1758-1984) https://www.researchgate.net