Molecular diversity and species delimitation in the family Gasteruptiidae (Hymenoptera: Evanioidea)

Ben A Parslow, Michael P Schwarz, Mark I Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Gasteruptiidae Ashmead is an easily recognised family of wasps with ~589 described species worldwide. Although well characterised by traditional taxonomy, multiple authors have commented on the extreme morphological uniformity of the group, making species-level identification difficult. This problem is enhanced by the lack of molecular data and molecular phylogenetic research for the group. We used 187 cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) barcodes to explore the efficiency of sequence data to delimitate species in Gasteruptiidae. We undertook a graphical and discussion-based comparison of six methods for species delimitation, with the success of methods judged based on known species boundaries and morphology. Both distance-based (ABGD and jMOTU threshold analysis) and tree-based (GMYC and PTP) methods compared across multiple parameters recovered variable molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs), ranging from 55 to 123 MOTUs. Tree-based methods tended to split known morphological species less than distance-based methods, with the single-threshold GMYC method the most concordant with known morphospecies. Our results suggest that the incorporation of molecular species delimitation techniques provides a powerful tool to assist in the interpretation of species and help direct informed decisions with taxonomic uncertainty in the family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-264
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Early online date15 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Molecular Diversity
  • Species Delimitation
  • Gasteruptiidae
  • ABGD
  • GMYC
  • DNA barcode
  • COI
  • Hymenoptera


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular diversity and species delimitation in the family Gasteruptiidae (Hymenoptera: Evanioidea)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this