John Heraty
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My research interests center on parasitic wasps in the superfamily Chalcidoidea. With more than 2000 genera and an estimated 500,000 species, these may be the most diverse group of organisms on the planet. These wasps attack a variety of arthropod hosts, but their economic and ecosystem importance primarily lies in their ability to attack small herbivorous insects such as aphids, armored scale insects and whiteflies. Because of their small size (usually 1–3 mm in length), they are often overlooked and difficult to identify. Our Entomology Research Museum has one of the largest collections of Chalcidoidea in the World that is based on the collections of previous researchers and students at UCR. We use molecular and morphological approaches to species description and understanding their relationships, but we incorporate considerable field work into our studies of diversity, taxonomy and behavior. Recent expeditions with a focus on the ant parasitoids have been undertaken in Argentina, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Peru, Trinidad and the southern United States