Genus: Chrysis Linnaeus, 1761

Last updated on February 16th, 2020

From: Kimsey L.S. & Bohart R.M., 1990 (1991) – The chrysidid wasps of the world. Oxford University Press, ix-652 pp.

The genus Chrysis has about 1000 currently recognized species and is as large as all of the rest of the Chrysididae together. Along with the size of the genus there is a great amount of variation. Chrysis is best defined by a combination of numerous, non-exclusive characters, many of which are found throughout the genus. For instance, all Chrysis have the fore wing marginal cell attenuate and, if extended by creases, terminating on the front wing margin. Also, there is no well-defined median tooth on the distal margin of T-III as found in Pentachrysis, Praestochrysis, Allochrysis, Odontochrydium, and some Trichrysis and Primeuchroeus. However, a tiny median projection may occur in Chrysis oxygonacatagrapha, and several other species. So, even this ‘absence’ character is nor absolute!


Chrysis Linnaeus 176l:4l4. Type: Sphex ignita Linnaeus 1758:571. Desig. by Latreille 1810:437.
Pyria Lepeletier and Serville 1825:494. Type: Chrysis lincea Fabricius 1775:367. Desig. by Smith 18746:464.
Pyrochloris Klug 1839:2. (no spp. placed in genus).
Platycelia Dahlbom 1845:8. Type: Platycelia ehrenbergi Dahlbom 1845:8. Monobasic.
Spintharis Klug 1845:Table 45. Type: Chrysis humeralis Klug 1845:Table 45, Fig.7. Desig. by Richards 1935:158.
Chrysogona Forster 1853:327. Type: Chrysogona gracillima Forster 1853:328. Monobasic.
Pyrasoma Dahlbom 1854:96 (nomen nudum). Nec Peron 1804.
Nemophora Dahlbom 1854:168. Type: Nemophora carinata ‘Spinola’ Dahlbom 1854:167. Nec Block 1799:119. ( = Chrysis capensis Mocsáry). Orig. desig.
Poeciloechroa Dahlbom 1854:236. Type: Chrysis alternans ‘Klug’ Dahlbom 1854:236. Monobasic.
Dichrysis Lichtenstein 1876:27. Type Chrysis bihamata Spinola 1838:450. Desig. by Bodenstein 1939^:126.
Tetrachrysis Lichtenstein 1876:27. Type: Chrysis aeruginosa Dahlbom 1854:267 (=Chrysis succincta Linnaeus 1767:947). Desig. by Ashmead 1902:226.
Hexachrysis Lichtenstein 1876:27. Type: Chrysis micans Rossi 1792:133 (Chrysis variegata Olivier 1790:677.). Desig. by Bodenstein 19396:127.
Chrysaspis Saussure 1887:25. Type: Chrysaspis grandidieri Saussure 1887:25. Monobasic.
Heptachrysis Mocsáry 1889:594. Type: Chrysis festina Smith 1874:462. Monobasic.
Cephalochrysis Semenov 1910:224. Type: Chrysis sabulosa Radozskowski 1877:24. Desig. by Bodenstein 19396:125.
Eurychrysis Bischoff 1910:445. Type: Eurychrysis stilbiceps Bischoff 1910:445 ( = nasuta Mocsary 19026:556). Monobasic.
Pseudotetrachrysis Bischoff 1910:447. Type: Chrysis oxygona Mocsáry 1890:60. Desig. by Bodenstein 19396:131.
Pseudogonochrysis Bischoff 1910:448. Type: Chrysis guineensis Mocsáry 1889:352 (=dira Mocsary 1883:17). Desig. by Bodenstein 1939:130.
Pseudohexachrysis Bischoff 1910:448. Type: Chrysis splendens Dahlbom 1854:312. Monobasic.
Octochrysis Mocsáry 1914:71. Type: Chrysis insperata. Mocsáry 1914:71. Nec Chevrier 1870 (=decemdentata Linsenmaier 1959a:167 repl. name). Monobasic.
Chrysidium Brauns 1928:390. Type Chrysidium antiquum Brauns 1928:390. Monobasic.
Heterochrysis Brauns 1928:392. Type: Chrysidium braini Brauns 1928:392. Monobasic.
Cornuchrysis Balthasar 1953:171. Type: Cornuchrysis clypeata Balthasar 1953:171. Nec Mocsáry 1889:393 (=amneris Balthasar 1953:227). Monobasic.
Glossochrysis Semenov 1954a:116. Type: Chrysis svetlana Semenov 1954a:116. Present desig.
Gonodontochrysis Semenov 1954a:120. Type: Chrysis flamma Semenov 1954:120. Present desig.
Actinochrysis Haupt 1956:74. Type: Chrysis bicolor Lepeletier 1806:127 (Chrysis succincta var.). Orig. desig.
Cymatochrysis Haupt 1956:74. Type: Chrysis viridula Linnaeus 1761:415. Orig. desig. Ischnochrysis Haupt 1956:74. Type: Chrysis gracillima Forster 1853:328. Orig. desig. Acanthochrysis Haupt 1956:74. Type: Chrysis cerastes Abeille 1877:68. Orig. desig.


A character summary for a common and rather widespread species in the largest species group will give a basis for understanding the genus. Chrysis ignita might be considered ‘typical’ of the genus. The fact that it is also the generotype is coincidental.

Chrysis ignita Linnaeus, 1758


In ignita the flagellum is dark, flagellomeres are cylindrical, and F-I is longer than F-I1 or F-III in both sexes. The antennal bases are well separated and the subantennal space is about 1 MOD. The scapal basin is not, or hardly, microridged. The malar space is more than 1 MOD. TFC is distinct, somewhat biconvex, and without posterior branches. Ocelli are well removed from the compound eyes and not lidded. LID is about 1.5 times the breadth of one eye. The genal carina is about 0.7 MOD from the eye at its closest point. On the underside of the head the preoccipital ridge and hook are present.


The notum is closely covered with moderate punctures. The pronotum has moderate humeri (shoulders) and no sublateral carina; median length of the posterior raised area is about that of the scutellum. The mesopleuron is rather smoothly rounded, edentate, and bears a distinct scrobal sulcus. The fore wing discoidal cell has well-developed veins. Legs are simple, without unusual angles, long hair, or tufts. The lateral propodeal angle is moderately blunt, and somewhat concave along the posterior margin.


T-I is broader than long, rounded laterally, and not divided anteriorly into strong lobes. T-II has a median longitudinal ridge. T-III has a distinct pit row, a slight prepit bulge in females, and four posterior teeth. S-II dark spots are rounded and separated. S-IV is concealed in females, nearly so in male. Male terminalia: S-VIII triangular, gonocoxa triangular but not digitate or spinose, volsellar elements slender, digitus nearly as long as cuspis, and aedeagus rather slender.


In other parts of the genus, each of the above features may be different, and in some cases it is characteristic of a species group (most of the characters are figured). The differences are discussed below with examples.


In some species, the flagellum may be considerably broadened (antennata); or mostly orange in males (capitalis, fulvicornis, gussakovskii); or both sexes (olgae); or male F-I and/or II may be short (maculicornis group, delicatula group, antennalis group, etc.). The antennal bases may be almost touching (nearly all of pallidicornis group). The subantennal space may be 2 MOD or more (pallidicornis group, nasuta). The scapal basin is frequently microridged (maindroni, taczanovskii, splendens, wahlbergi, etc.). The malar space may be quite short (maculicornis) or quite long (delicatula). TFC may be absent (amneris), partial (splendent), branched posteriorly to define a mid ocellar area (westermanni), essentially double (antennata), parenthesis-like (wahlbergi), projecting (grandis), or welt-like (alternans). Ocelli may be as little as 1 MOD from the eyes (maindroni), and may be lidded (westermanni, stilboides, smaragdula groups). LID is subject to great variation but is a relatively good species character. It is usually broader in females, and may be twice an eye diameter (ehrenbergi), or only a little more than one diameter (nasuta). The genal carina may nearly touch the eye (propria, bihamata, pallidicornis groups) or may be absent (ehrenbergi female, ugandae). The preoccipital ridge and hook are almost universal but may be absent (ehrenbergi).


The pronotal humeri may be projecting (ehrenbergi female), or sharp (paraguayensis); a lateral carina may be present (heymonsi, laborans), or the pronotum may be longer than the scutellum (comparata and longicollis groups). Scutal punctures may be somewhat spaced (comottii). The mesopleuron may be dentate (lincea, and intricans groups, smaragdula, etc.), the scrobal sulcus may be evanescent (longigena, rectilineatadelicatula). The fore wing discoidal cell outer veins may be weakly indicated (amneris males). In some species the legs have long hair (bihamata, pilosalateralis, striatula). The propodeal angle may be convex or lobate beneath (smaragdula, interceptor), truncate (aurulenta), or short (mixta).


T-I may be nearly as long as broad (delicatula) or with anterior margin lobate (subsinuata). T-II may lack a median longitudinal carina (sabulosa group, etc.). T-III rarely has the pit row obsolete (atrypa), a prepit bulge is sometimes absent (sabulosa); the number of T-III posterior teeth may be 0 (hydropica, millenaris groups, etc.), two (bihamata group, etc.), six (smaragdula group, oculata group), teeth or angles of lateral edge one on each side for a total of four (rufitarsis and pulchella groups), one on each side for a total of six (lincea, heymonsi, splendenswahlbergi, and longicollis groups), or two on each side for a total of eight (decemdentata group). S-IV is rarely completely exposed (varia males). S-VIII may be attenuate posteriorly (antennalis, conica, grandis), or broadly rounded posteriorly (facialiswestermannicuprata). The gonocoxa may be attenuate posteriorly (pulchella, inaequalis, extensa, conicavaria, etc.), or with a strong inner lobe (angolensis, aureomarginata, westermanni, astralia, varidens). The digitus may be short (elegans), medially foliaceous (capitalis), or medially microdentate (eximia). The cuspis may be broad (longicollis), narrow (smaragdula), or claviform (extensa). The aedeagus may be expanded basally (nisseri), expanded apically (coloradica), or unusually serrate (capitalis).

Species groups

Linsenmaier (1959a) was the first chrysidid worker to formalize species groups. Within Chrysis, as treated herein, he established 52 groups, including a few monotypic subgenera. These groups were all in the Old World except for carinata (=grandis group) from South America. Linsenmaier presented a key to 33 of his groups, mostly from the Palearctic Region, and commented on characteristics of the others. In general we have followed his arrangement and nomenclature. However, where the names seem inappropriate because of homonymy (carinata and clypeata groups) or synonymy (incisa and bucculenta groups), we have made changes. In a few cases we have combined groups (scutellaris with comparataleachii with succinctaemarginatula with elegansgracillima with varidensfasciata with smaragdula). Some groups or parts of groups have been removed to other genera (part of versicolor to Spintharina, and austriacadichroa, and radians to Chrysura). Some of his subgeneric concepts we have treated as genera: Chrysura, Spintharina, Trichryris, Chrysidea, Pentachrysis. Others have been synonymized: Octochrysis, Platycelia, Eurychrysis, Pseudotetrachrysis, Cornuchrysis, and Chrysogona. Although these names are not used, we have included many of the categories they represent as species groups. The total now comes to 70. We have tried to base our groupings on all available characters including dissected male terminalia. Many of our differences with Linsenmaier would probably not have occurred if he had studied male terminalia more closely. Although he gave nearly 200 figures, the differences are for the most part obscure, and S-VIII was not considered.

We present separate keys to Old World and New World species groups, followed by group diagnoses. In the five cases where groups occur in both geographical areas (comparata, angolensis, ignita, smaragdula, succincta), the diagnoses are given only in the Old World section.

In the combined and alphabetical synonymic list the appropriate species group is indicated where possible. However, many species are unassigned, either because we have not seen identified specimens, or because material examined was inadequate. It is obvious that when more material becomes available, additional species groups will need to be characterized.

Some Chrysis species names have had to be changed from those commonly given, either because of synonymy resulting from examination of types, or from homonymy which has been previously unrecognized or ignored. The following are some of the more important changes. Others can be found in the species list.

coerulans Fabricius 1804 = nitidula Fabricius 1775
fuscipennis Brulle 1846, preoccupied by fuscipennis Dahlbom 1829, = angolensis Radoszkowski 1881
iris Christ 1791 = purpurata Fabricius 1787
sexdentata Christ 1791 = variegata Olivier 1790
sybarita Förster 1853 = graelsii Guérin 1842 (see Invrea 1948:258).


Chrysis parasitize a wide variety of wasps and bees in the families SphecidaeEumenidaeMegachilidae, and Anthophoridae.

Italian species

  •  Chrysis albanica Trautmann, 1927
  •  Chrysis analis Spinola, 1808
  •  Chrysis angustifrons Abeille, 1878
  •  Chrysis angustula Schenck, 1856
  •  Chrysis auriceps Mader, 1936
  •  Chrysis aurotecta Abeille, 1878
  •  Chrysis berlandi Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis berlandi reductidentata Linsenmaier, 1997
  •  Chrysis bicolor Lepeletier, 1806
  •  Chrysis calimorpha Mocsáry, 1882
  •  Chrysis calimorpha siziliana Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis cerastes Abeille, 1877
  •  Chrysis chlorospila Klug, 1845
  •  Chrysis chrysoprasina Förster, 1853
  •  Chrysis chrysostigma Mocsáry, 1889
  •  Chrysis cingulicornis Förster, 1853
  •  Chrysis cingulicornis dalmatina Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis clarinicollis Linsenmaier, 1951
  •  Chrysis coeruleiventris Abeille, 1878
  •  Chrysis comparata Lepeletier, 1806
  •  Chrysis comta Förster, 1853
  •  Chrysis consanguinea Mocsáry, 1889
  •  Chrysis consanguinea prominea Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis consanguinea vareana Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis continentalis Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis corsica Buysson, 1896
  •  Chrysis cortii Linsenmaier, 1951
  •  Chrysis cylindrica Eversmann, 1857
  •  Chrysis daphnis Mocsáry, 1889
  •  Chrysis diacantha franciscae Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis elegans Lepeletier, 1806
  •  Chrysis emarginatula Spinola, 1808
  •  Chrysis equestris Dahlbom, 1845
  •  Chrysis exsulans Dahlbom, 1854
  •  Chrysis fasciata Olivier, 1790
  •  Chrysis frivaldszkyi Mocsáry, 1882
  •  Chrysis fugax Abeille, 1878
  •  Chrysis fulgida Linnaeus, 1761
  •  Chrysis germari Wesmael, 1839
  •  Chrysis germari aeneibasalis Linsenmaier, 1987
  •  Chrysis gracillima Förster, 1853
  •  Chrysis gracillima styx (Trautmann, 1926)
  •  Chrysis graelsii Guèrin, 1842
  •  Chrysis gribodoi Abeille, 1877
  •  Chrysis grohmanni Dahlbom, 1854
  •  Chrysis grohmanni krkiana Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis grohmanni subaequalis Linsenmaier, 1968
  •  Chrysis hydropica Abeille, 1878
  •  Chrysis ignita Linnaeus, 1758
  •  Chrysis ignita bischoffi Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis illigeri Wesmael, 1839
  •  Chrysis immaculata Buysson, 1898
  •  Chrysis impressa Schenck, 1856
  •  Chrysis inaequalis Dahlbom, 1845
  •  Chrysis indigotea Dufour-Perris, 1840
  •  Chrysis insperata Chevrier, 1870
  •  Chrysis integra sicula Abeille, 1878
  •  Chrysis interjecta Buysson, 1895
  •  Chrysis iris Christ, 1791
  •  Chrysis jucunda Mocsáry, 1889
  •  Chrysis lanceolata Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis leachii Shuckard, 1837
  •  Chrysis leptomandibularis Niehuis, 2000
  •  Chrysis longula Abeille, 1879
  •  Chrysis longula sublongula Linsenmaier, 1951
  •  Chrysis lucida Linsenmaier, 1951
  •  Chrysis maderi Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis marginata aliunda Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis maroccana Mocsáry, 1883
  •  Chrysis mediadentata Linsenmaier, 1951
  •  Chrysis mediata Linsenmaier, 1951
  •  Chrysis melaensis Linsenmaier, 1968
  •  Chrysis millenaris Mocsáry, 1897
  •  Chrysis mixta Dahlbom, 1854
  •  Chrysis mysticalis Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis mysticalis simii Perraudin, 1978
  •  Chrysis obtusidens Dufour-Perris, 1840
  •  Chrysis paglianoi Strumia, 1992
  •  Chrysis perezi Mocsáry, 1889
  •  Chrysis phryne Abeille, 1878
  •  Chrysis provenceana Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis pseudobrevitarsis Linsenmaier, 1951
  •  Chrysis pseudogribodoi Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis pulchella Spinola, 1808
  •  Chrysis pulcherrima Lepeletier, 1806
  •  Chrysis pyrrhina Dahlbom, 1845
  •  Chrysis pyrrhina siciliaca Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis ragusae De Stefani, 1888
  •  Chrysis ruddii Shuckart, 1837
  •  Chrysis ruddii brevimarginata Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis rufitarsis Brullè, 1833
  •  Chrysis rutilans Olivier, 1790
  •  Chrysis rutiliventris Abeille, 1879
  •  Chrysis rutiliventris vanlithi Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis schencki Linsenmaier, 1968
  •  Chrysis sculpturata Mocsáry, 1912
  •  Chrysis scutellaris Fabricius, 1794
  •  Chrysis semicincta Lepeletier, 1806
  •  Chrysis semicincta tricolor Lucas, 1849
  •  Chrysis semistriata Linsenmaier, 1997
  •  Chrysis sexdentata Christ, 1791
  •  Chrysis simplonica Linsenmaier, 1951
  •  Chrysis splendidula Rossi, 1790
  •  Chrysis subcoriacea Linsenmaier, 1959
  •  Chrysis subsinuata Marquet, 1879
  •  Chrysis succincta Linnaeus, 1767
  •  Chrysis succincta succinctula Dahlbom, 1854
  •  Chrysis taczanovskii Radoszkowski, 1876
  •  Chrysis valesiana Frey-Gessner, 1887
  •  Chrysis varidens Abeille, 1878
  •  Chrysis viridula Linnaeus, 1761

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