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Revision of the genera Omphale and Perditorulus (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) occurring at the Atlantic Rain Forest


The Brazilian Atlantic Forest is considered a hotspot by the International Conservation. The remains of the forest, less than 9 % of the original one, are highly threatened by human activity and consist of a global treasure of immeasurable biodiversity value. By the other side, Eulophidae is one of the largest families among the Chalcidoidea, comprised of 297 genera and ca. 4470 species, many of which have been recorded from the Neotropical region (121 and 1047 of described genera and species, respectively). However, only 50 % of the genera and less than 15 % of the species occurring at the Neotropical Region have been reported from Brazil. In order to improve the knowledge base regarding the diversity and species richness, the objective of this project is to revise the species of the genera Omphale and Perditorulus (Chalcidoidea: Eulophidae) occurring at the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, complementing the Biota-FAPESP project Biodiversity of Isoptera and Hymenoptera, coordinated by Dr. Carlos Roberto F. Brandão (Museu de Zoologia-USP). The faunas of North America and Central America (mainly Costa Rica) of these two genera have been treated recently, so there are modern updates on related faunas, but the group has never been treated in South America. In Costa Rica, there are 129 species of Omphale and 67 of Perditorulus and the fauna of Brazil is at least as species-rich as Costa Rica. Specimens belonging to these genera were previously collected by the team of the referred project between 2000 and 2002 by using Malaise and Moericke traps and sweeping the vegetation at the Atlantic Forest. Eighteen sites along the forest occurrence area were sampled, which includes the states of Alagoas, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, São Paulo and Sergipe. As the material has already been collected and preserved, the first step will be to recognize those Entedoninae with delimited clypeus and, from these, the specimens belonging to the genera Omphale and Perditorulus. The taxonomy of this group is based mainly on the male genitalia. When necessary, existing new species will be described. At the end of the project, a dichotomous key will be elaborated to allow the diagnosis of the species of Omphale and Perditorulus from the Atlantic Forest. Additionally, this project is an excellent opportunity of improvement of Brazilian taxonomists through the integration with the best Neotropical Eulophidae specialist, Dr. Christer Hansson, from Lund University, Sweden. The acquired experience would be useful in the identification of parasitoids of agricultural pests belonging not only to the family included in this study but to other groups as well. (AU)

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