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This is the ﬁrst part of a monograph of the Madagascan Mutillidae or velvet ants, social parasites of the diapausing larvae or pupae of Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera. This section contains a key to the ﬁve genera occurring in Madagascar and a detailed systematic treatment of the four genera, Ctenotilla Bischoff, Mutilla Linnaeus, Dasylabris Radoszkowsky and Stenomutilla André, belonging to the tribes Myrmillini, Mutillini and Smicromyrmini according to Bischoff’s (1920-1921) classiﬁcation of the Ethiopian Mutillidae. The treatment of the sole remaining tribe, Timullini (= Trogaspidiini of Bischoff), containing the genus Timulla with subgenera Chrysotilla Bischoff, Sylvotilla Olsoufieff, Hildebrandtia Olsoufieff, Aureotilla Bischoff, Trogaspidia Ashmead, Pristomutilla Ashmead and Glossotilla Bischoff, is reserved for the second part of the projected monograph.
This study is based on an examination of the holotypes of almost all of the described taxa supplemented by other material existing in the collections listed in the acknowledgements. Unquestionably, the most valuable single collection studied was the magniﬁcent suite of specimens obtained by the late hymenopterist André Seyrig during the 1930’s. It is the single most important collection of Mutillidae in existence because Seyrig was fortunate enough to obtain mating pairs of a number of species, thus permitting the correct association of sexes in these strongly sexually dimorphic wasps, and also to rear a number of species so that their host relationships could be determined. Most of Seyrig’s mating pairs and rearings were in the genus Timulla but a few were in Dasylabris and Stenomutilla as noted under the appropriate generic or specific headings.
An important part of the Mutillidae collected by A. Seyrig in Madagascar was deposited some years ago in the collections of the Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale, Tervuren.