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a superfamily of insects of the suborder Parasitica of the order Hymenoptera. The insects vary in length from 1 to 3 mm but may reach as much as 10 mm. The coloring varies—metallic green, black, or yellow. Wing venation is reduced and lacks closed cells. The antennae are geniculate, with no more than 15 segments. The larvae are limbless and pupate without forming a cocoon. The majority parasitize other insects, but some develop in plant tissues. Chalcidoidea are widespread, with 27 families and approximately 8,000 species; species from 22 families are found in the USSR. Many species are useful for biological pest control. The most important to man are the aphelinid and the genus Trichogramma.
Although some species parasitize insect pests, others are themselves agricultural pests. Of the latter, some develop inside plant stems or form galls on the stems; others infest ovaries and thereby damage seeds, including Eurytoma amygdali (on almond trees), Eurytoma onobrychidia (on French honeysuckle), and Bruchophagus gibbus (on clover).
B. R. STRIGANOVA