The world fauna of the Liopteridae, a mainly tropical to subtropical group of cynipoid parasitoids of wood-boring insect larvae, was revised at the generic level based on the largest material of the family ever collated, including type specimens of most described species. The Liopteridae were found to be monophyletic once the previously included genera Heteribalia and Eileenella had been removed, and evidence supporting this conclusion is presented. Ground-plan character states of the Liopteridae are tabulated for 108 external skeletal features. The family was divided into eleven putatively monophyletic genera, and a key to these is presented. Each genus is described, possible autapomorphies discussed, and distributional and biological data summarized. All material studied is listed to species, and depositories and distribution records are given. It is estimated that the material (750 specimens) represents 130 species, of which 70 are new to science (not described here). Although the material probably constitutes a fair portion of the liopterids in world collections, most species are represented by very few specimens, suggesting that only a small fraction of the total world fauna has been collected.
A cladistic analysis of intergeneric relationships based on 54 morphological characters is presented, and a new classification of the Liopteridae into subfamilies is proposed. The historical biogeography of the group was analysed and used to date some of the speciation events in the phylogeny. The biogeographic patterns suggest that the family already existed in the Jurassic. The only fossil liopterid known, Protoibalia connexiva from the upper Eocene, is discussed and placed in the genus Kiefferiella.
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