The small Aculeate wasps of the genus Methocha are slender animals with wingless, antlike females and winged males, and they belong to the Methochinae, a subfamily of the Tiphiidae wasps, Hymenoptera Apocrita.
Genus Methocha Latreille, 1804
Subg. Methocha Latreille, 1804
Subg. Dryinopsis Brues, 1910
Subg. Andreus Ashmead, 1903
Genus Karlissa Krombein, 1979
Tiphiidae (known as flower-wasps, roll-wasps, Rollwespen) are a relatively rich family, with over 1,500 species distributed world-wide. They are solitary wasps, well known to be specialized ectoparasitoids on larval beetles (Coleoptera Scarabaeoidea and Cicindelidae).
Methocha females prey on cicindelid larvas, which are commonly found in burrows along sandy soils. Initially the Methocha female is caught by the deadly mandibles of the tiger beetle larva, but, thanks to her slender body, she is able to escape and to sting the neck of the larva in order to paralyze it. After the Methocha's egg is glued on the larval body, the burrow is sealed with soil particles and the Methocha larva develops within 2-3 weeks.
Tiphiid species are winged wasps, except for Methochinae and Thynninae (wingless females), with elongated thorax subdivided in three segments, antennas with 12 flagellomeres in females and 13 flagellomeres in males.
The relationships among the tiphiid subfamilies were studied by Kimsey (1991). The phylogenetic relationships between the Tiphiidae and the Aculeta were outlined by Brothers & Carpenter (1993).
The widespread Methochinae include only few species, which are absent from the Australian region.
For citation purposes
Agnoli G.L. & Rosa P., Chrysis.net website, interim version 28-Jul-2011 , URL: http://www.chrysis.net/.