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Tuatara: Volume 11, Issue 2, June 1963

Review — ‘A Catalogue and Reclassification of the Indo-Australian Ichneumonidae’

‘A Catalogue and Reclassification of the Indo-Australian Ichneumonidae’

By Henry Townes, Marjorie Townes and Virendra K. Gupta. With collaboration on the subfamily Ichneumoninae by Gerd Heinrick, and a key to genera by Henry Townes.

(Published by the American Entomological Institute, 5950 Warren Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A. Price $14.50).

The publication of this comprehensive and carefully compiled catalogue provides a valuable contribution towards a better understanding of the systematics and nomenclature of Oriental and Australasian Ichneumonidae. The catalogue covers a geographical area including southwest Asia, Australia, East Indies and the islands page 97 of the Pacific Ocean south of the main islands of Japan (south of Kyushu) and as far eastwards as Easter Island.

Each citation in the catalogue gives the name adopted by the authors, the reference, notes on the contents of the reference, localities and host species, and in the case of original descriptions the sex and locality of the type and the museum where it is preserved. All references in the specific synonymy have been seen b ythe authors except where it is statd otherwise. The following statistics taken from the catalogue are given to indicate the considerable amount of research that has gone into the preparation of this indespensable work. Genera contained 383; species contained 2,579; new specific synonyms 316; new generic synonyms 207; new combinations 1,227; new names 47; and new genera 12.

The reviewer cannot agree with the systematic positions given to several Australian genera, as for instance in the case of the genus Labium Br. which the authors place in the subfamily Xoridinae, but in the reviewer's opinion is more correctly placed in the subfamily Ichneumoninae. However these differences of opinion on the systematic position of one or two genera, are of minor importance when the catalogue as a whole is considered and the authors are to be congratulated in considerably clarifying many problems in the systematics of this difficult family.

As far as the nomenclature adopted in the catalogue is concerned, the reviewer is not always in agreement with the authors on their choice of names for several genera and higher catagories, and it would appear that more general agreement will have to be reached before we can obtain a high level of stability that is so essential to the progress of knowledge in this family.

An important part of the catalogue are the keys to subfamilies, tribes and genera compiled by Henry Townes. These keys are the most satisfactory ones so far published, at least for the Australian and New Zealand faunas and with a little experience and care may be used with confidence and will be of great practical value to the student.

Finally there are generic descriptions of the new genera included in the keys, on pages 471-474, index to hosts and parasites and a comprehensive index of the names appearing in the catalogue.

The authors and publishers are to be congratulated on producing a very attractive volume and for the care they have taken in the setting up and printing of the catalogue.

Arthur W. Parrott,
‘Lochiel,’ Wakapuaka Road, Nelson