My research interests lie in the parasitic wasp family Braconidae. All members of the family Braconidae are parasites of other insects, developing as larvae on the tissue of an unfortunate host. During millions of years they have evolved and adjusted/specialized their behavior and biological traits to a certain host. As they are so closely intertwined with their host the parasitic wasps play an important role in population dynamics and are therefore useful as a natural biological control to hinder insect pests. Most have evolved a close relation to a certain specific host. There are about 30 subfamilies of braconids in Sweden. My research focus on Alysiinae, one of the most peculiar and species rich of the subfamilies. The Alysiinae parasitize on the larvae of several families of Diptera. Agromyzidae, Anthomyiidae, Calliphoridae, Chloropidae, Ephydridae and Phoridae belong to the more common hosts. They finish their development in the host puparium. More than 80 genera have been described and most of these are restricted to the Holarctic (Fischer 1971, Shenefelt 1974, Wharton 1980, Tobias 1998). About 65 genera are recorded from the Palaearctic and of these 55 genera from Europe.
My research aim is to substantially increase the taxonomic knowledge of a poorly known group of parasitic wasps, the subfamily Alysiinae (Braconidae), particularly for Sweden. Identify the Alysiinae material from the Swedish Malaise Trap Project (SMTP) and material at the Swedish Museum of Natural History to species. Identify and revise new species and genera of the Alysiinae. Provide easy-to-use identification keys for amateur and professional entomologists. Make available digitized collections, datasets, sequences and species for free use. Provide The Swedish Species Initiative (STI) (Dyntaxa) with a quality-assured list of Alysiinae species in Sweden including several new species for Sweden (> 100 species) as well as species new to science.
Julia Stigenberg (Principal investigator)
Stigenberg, J. Ronquist, F. (2011) Revision of the Western Palearctic Meteorini (Hymenoptera, Braconidae), with a Molecular Characterization of Hidden Fennoscandian Species Diversity. Zootaxa 3084, 1–95
Stigenberg, J. (2013) Hidden creatures – systematics of the Euphorinae (Hymenoptera). Doktorsavhandling vid Stockholms Universitet. ISSN 978-91-7447-605-7.
Stigenberg, J., Boring, C.A., Ronquist, F. (2015) Phylogeny of the parasitic wasp subfamily Euphorinae (Braconidae) and evolution of its host preferences. Systematic Entomology 40, 570–591.