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a superfamily of hymenopterous insects that usually develop in plant tissues and cause the formation of galls. Occasionally, the Cynipoidea parasitize larvae of other insects that live in plant tissues. The body is black and measures 1–5 mm long; the wings contain few veins. The larvae are legless, C-shaped, and white. The galls formed by the insects have a shape and structure that is characteristic of each species of Cynipoidea; they are especially varied on oak trees and Rosaceae. There are about 1,900 species of Cynipoidea, mostly distributed in the northern hemisphere.
The summer offspring of Cynipoidea are bisexual and the spring offspring, parthenogenic. The structure of galls formed by bisexual and parthenogenic generations differs. The Cynipoidea that parasitize the larvae of such insects as the cabbage, turnip, and onion maggots are beneficial in that they destroy agricultural pests.