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Gall wasps

(Life: Kingdom: Metazoa (animals); Phylum: Arthropoda; Class: Hexapoda; Order: Hymenoptera; Superfamily: Cynipoidea; Family: Cynipidae; Subfamily: Cynipinae)

ClassificationCynipoidea keys


Agastoroxenia Nieves-Aldrey & Medianero, 2010 (NT)

Lithosaphonecrus Tang, Melika and Boszó, 2015 (OR)


Poncyia Kieffer, 1903

Rhoophilus Mayr, 1881

Saphonecrus Dalla Torre & Kieffer, 1910 (PA, NA, OR)

Synergus Hartig, 1840 (PA, NA, NT)

Synophrus Hartig, 1843 (PA)


Ufo Melika & Pujade-Villar, 2005 (PA, OR)

Distribution Predominately a northern Hemisphere group. Represented in Africa by the endemic South African monotypic genus Rhoophilus.
Biology Develop as obligate inhabitants (termed inquilines) in the galls induced by other insects.

Mostly inquilines of gall-inducing Cynipini on Fagaceae, or primary gall formers (in the case of some Synergus species). In some cases, inquilinism reaches a degree where gall inducers do not survive and hatch (Buffington et al. 2020).


Buffington ML, Forshage M, Liljeblad J, Tang CT, van Noort, S. 2020. World Cynipoidea (Hymenoptera):a key to higher-level groups. Insect Systematics and Diversity 4(4): 1–69. https://doi.org/10.1093/isd/ixaa003

Hartig, T. 1843. Zweiter nachtrag zur naturgeschichte der Gallwespen. Zeitschrift fur Entomologie 4: 395 - 422.

Ide T, Mu MA, Nobuyuki T. 2020. First record of Cynipidae from Myanmar with description of a new species of Lithosaphonecrus (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae: Synergini). Zootaxa 4810(2): 344–350. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4810.2.7

Liljeblad, J., Nieves-Aldrey, J.L., Neser, S. & Melika, G. 2011. Adding another piece to the cynipoid puzzle: the description of a new tribe, genus and species of gall wasp (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) endemic to The Republic of South Africa. Zootaxa 2806: 35–52.
Mayr, G. 1881. Die genera der gallenbewohnenden Cynipiden. Jahresberichte der Rossauer Communal Oberrealschule im I. Bezirke 20:138.

Penzes, Z., Melika, G., Bozsoki, Z., Bihari, P., Miko, I., Tavakoli, M., Pudje-Villar, J., Feher, B., Fulop, D., Szabo, K., Bozso, M., Sipos, B., Somogyi, K. & Stone, G. 2009. Systematic re-appraisal of the gall-usurping wasp genus Synophrus Hartig, 1843 (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae: Synergini). Systematic Entomology 34: 688 - 711. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3113.2009.00482.x

Pujade-Villar, J., Wang, Y. & Lobato-Vila, I. 2020. Lithosaphonecrus puigdemonti sp. nov. from China (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae). Entomotaxonomia, 42 (1), 70–80.
Pujade-Villar, J., Melika, G., Ros-Farre, P., Acs, Z. & Csoka, G. 2003. Cynipid inquiline wasps of Hungary, with taxonomic notes on the Western Palaearctic fauna (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae, Cynipinae, Synergini). Folia Entomologica Hungarica 64: 121 - 170.

Ritchie, A.J. 1993. Superfamily Cynipoidea (pp. 521-536). In GOULET, H. & HUBER, J. (eds). Hymenoptera of the World: an identification guide to families. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Canada, 668 pp.

Ronquist, F. 1999. Phylogeny, classification and evolution of the Cynipoidea. Zoologica Scripta 28:139–164.

Ronquist, F. & Liljeblad, J. 2001. Evolution of the gall wasp–host plant association. Evolution 55: 2503–2522.

Ronquist, F., Nieves-Aldrey, J.-L., Buffington, M. L., Liu, Z., Liljeblad, J., & Nylander, J. A. A. 2015. Phylogeny, Evolution and Classification of Gall Wasps: The Plot Thickens. PLoS ONE, 10(5), e0123301. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0123301

Schwéger, S., Melika, G., Tang, C.-T., Yang, M.-M., Stone, G.N., Nicholls, J.A., Sinclair, F., Hearn, J., Bozsó, M. & Pénzes, Z. 2015. New species of cynipid inquilines of the genus Saphonecrus (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae: Synergini) from the Eastern Palaearctic, with a re-appraisal of known species world-wide. Zootaxa, 4054 (1), 1–84. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4054.1.1

Shachar, E, Melika, G, Inbar, M & Dorchin, N, 2018, The oak gall wasps of Israel (Hymenoptera, Cynipidae, Cynipini) - diversity, distribution and life history. Zootaxa 4521: 451-498. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4521.4.1
Sternlicht, M. 1968. The oak galls of Israel (Quercus calliprinos Webb, and Quercus ithaburensis Decne.). Israel Journal of Entomology 3: 17 - 57.

van Noort, S, Buffington ML & Forshage, M. 2015. Afrotropical Cynipoidea (Hymenoptera). ZooKeys 493: 1-176. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.493.6353

van Noort, S., Stone, G.N., Whitehead, V.B. & Nieves-Aldrey, J.L.  2007. Biology of Rhoophilus loewi (Hymenoptera: Cynipoidea: Cynipidae), with implications for the evolution of inquilinism in gall wasps. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 90: 153-172. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2007.00719.x

Yang., X.-H., Liu, Z., Pang, Y., Su, C.-Y. & Zhu, D.-H. 2019. Three new species of Synergini wasps from same galls on Lithocarpus glaber (Thunb.) in Hunan, China (Hymenoptera, Cynipidae). Insect Systematics & Evolution, 1–33. https://doi.org/10.1163/1876312X-00002304


Photographs © Simon van Noort (Iziko Museums of South Africa).

Matt Buffington (Systematic Entomology Laboratory, USDA/ARS) and Mattias Forshage (Swedish Museum of Natural History) both played an integral role in the development of the Cynipoidea pages.

Web author Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum)


Citation: van Noort, S. 2022. WaspWeb: Hymenoptera of the Afrotropical region. URL: www.waspweb.org (accessed on <day/month/year>).

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