Under Construction


Scott Richard Shaw
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
taxon links [down<--]Megalyridae Interpreting the tree
close box

This tree diagram shows the relationships between several groups of organisms.

The root of the current tree connects the organisms featured in this tree to their containing group and the rest of the Tree of Life. The basal branching point in the tree represents the ancestor of the other groups in the tree. This ancestor diversified over time into several descendent subgroups, which are represented as internal nodes and terminal taxa to the right.

example of a tree diagram

You can click on the root to travel down the Tree of Life all the way to the root of all Life, and you can click on the names of descendent subgroups to travel up the Tree of Life all the way to individual species.

For more information on ToL tree formatting, please see Interpreting the Tree or Classification. To learn more about phylogenetic trees, please visit our Phylogenetic Biology pages.

close box
Containing group: Megalyroidea


Cryptalyra is a small genus with three rare species known only from South America.  Cryptalyra plaumanni was described by Shaw (1987) from southern Brazil.  Cryptalyra colombia was described from Colombia by Shaw (2002).  Cryptalyra depressa, the most recently discovered species, was described by Azevedo and Tavares (2006).

Shaw (1990) inferred a sister-group relationship of Cryptalyra with the Oriental/Australasian genus Carminator, and placed both in the tribe Cryptalyrini.  Three synapomorphies support this relationship: compact flagellomeres, loss of the forewing metacarpus vein, and loss of the hind wing RS vein.


Cryptalyra species can be distinguished from other megalyrids by their minute body size (4.6 mm or less), very short antenna, and exceptionally short ovipositor sheath (barely protruding beyond the apex of the metasoma).  The ovipositor can be retracted into the body.

Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window

Cryptalyra depressa Azevedo and Tavares. © 2006 . 1. Dorsal view of head and mesosoma.  2. Lateral view of head.  3. Anterior view of head and antenna.  4. Lateral view of metasoma with ovipositor fully extended.

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

Azevedo and Tavares (2006) suggested that Cryptalyra plaumanni and Cryptalyra depressa are sister-species because both species have the occipital carina curved toward the mandible, and the antenna only as long as the head.


Azevedo, C. O. and M. T. Tavares. 2006. A new species of Cryptalyra (Hymenoptera, Megalyridae) from Brazil with a key to the species of the genus. Zootaxa 1259:55-59.

Shaw, S. R. 1987. Three new megalyrids from South America (Hymenoptera: Megalyridae). Psyche 94(1-2):189-199.

Shaw, S. R. 1990. Phylogeny and biogeography of the parasitoid wasp family Megalyridae (Hymenoptera). Journal of Biogeography 17:569-581.

Shaw, S. R. 2003. A new Cryptalyra species from Colombia (Hymenoptera: Megalyridae). Zootaxa 248:1-4.

Title Illustrations
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Scientific Name Cryptalyra colombia
Location Colombia
Specimen Condition Dead Specimen
Sex Female
Life Cycle Stage Adult
Size 4.3 mm
Copyright © 2003 Scott Richard Shaw
About This Page

Scott Richard Shaw
University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Scott Richard Shaw at

All Rights Reserved.

Citing this page:

Shaw, Scott Richard. 2007. Cryptalyra. Version 20 February 2007 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Cryptalyra/28843/2007.02.20 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

edit this page
close box

This page is a Tree of Life Branch Page.

Each ToL branch page provides a synopsis of the characteristics of a group of organisms representing a branch of the Tree of Life. The major distinction between a branch and a leaf of the Tree of Life is that each branch can be further subdivided into descendent branches, that is, subgroups representing distinct genetic lineages.

For a more detailed explanation of the different ToL page types, have a look at the Structure of the Tree of Life page.

close box


Page Content

articles & notes



Explore Other Groups

random page

  go to the Tree of Life home page