Meteorus gigas (Aguirre, Shaw, and Jones)






Male, lateral view 




Male with phoretic mite attached




 Female lateral habitus




Female head, anterior view



Diagnostic features of adult wasp

Body length 6.4-9.8 mm; 30-36 flagellomeres; body mostly black, female antenna with median white band, petiole of first metasomal tergite yellowish white basally in female, entirely pale in male; mandible not twisted; clypeus punctate; occipital carina complete; wings slightly darkened; propodeum carinate-rugose, with distinct median and transverse carinae defining large areolae; tarsal claw simple; dorsopes absent; ventral borders of first metasomal tergite separated basally, joined apically; ovipositor 2.6 x longer than first metasomal tergite; first tergite smooth dorsally.

Biology and rearing records

Hosts and development are unknown. Adults of Meteorus gigas are commonly sampled by Malaise traps and yellow pan traps, and are known to fly during all months of the year except August and September. It is interesting to note that while more than 60,000 individual caterpillars have been reared so far in the Ecuador CAPEA project, M. gigas has not yet been reared from a host caterpillar. The abundance of this species in Malaise traps from the same area illustrates a gap between sampling methods and shows the importance of using diverse sampling methods for assessing Braconidae biodiversity. Since the common caterpillars on low vegetation at Yanayacu have now been well sampled, the absence of M. gigas from these hosts suggests that the species may selectively parasitize either very cryptic hosts, nocturnal feeders, or hosts feeding high in the forest canopy. Perhaps this species parasitizes beetle host that are not being sampled by the CAPEA project.


Meteorus gigas is the most common Meteorus species found flying at the Yanayacu Biological Research Station in Napo Province, Ecuador. The species also occurs in Andean and high Andean wet forests in Colombia. It is known from elevations ranging from 1950 to 2213 meters.

Similar species

Meteorus gigas is similar to Meteorus megalops (Zitani) (from Costa Rica and Colombia). Both species have the mandibles not twisted, large and protuberant eyes, small ocelli, antennal flagellum with a white median band in females, occipital carina complete, similar first metasomal tergite form, and long ovipositor. Meteorus gigas differs by being strikingly larger (females 8.0 to 9.8 mm long vs. 5.4 mm or shorter), and having more flagellomeres (30-36 flagellomeres in gigas vs. 24-25 in megalops). Other characteristics separating these two species are given by Aguirre et al. (2010).


The species name gigas means "giant" or "large" in Latin, referring to the exceptionally large body size for a Meteorus species.


Aguirre Fernandez, H., S.R. Shaw, and G.Z. Jones. 2010. A new Meteorus species from Colombia and Ecuador (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Zootaxa 2453: 55-61.

Aguirre Fernandez, H., C.E. Sarmiento, and S.R. Shaw. 2011. Taxonomic revision and morphometric analysis of Meteorus Haliday 1835 (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Meteorinae) from Colombia. Zootaxa 2938: 1-68.