Laetilia Ragonot

Thomas J. Simonsen and Richard L. Brown

Last updated:  Dec.15, 2009

Taxonomic Synonymy
Laetilia Ragonot, 1889. Ent. Americana, 5:116.
Type species: Dakruma coccidivora Comstock, 1879. Original designation.

Laosticha Hulst, 1902. Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 52: 431.
Type species: Dakruma ephestiella Ragonot, 1887.

Diagnostic Characters
Adult
Laetilia is a composite genus that might not be monophyletic (Neunzig 1997), but it can generally be distinguished by the following character combination: 1) proboscis shortened to greatly reduced, 2) maxillary palpus filiform to slightly fan-shape, 3) female genitalia with ductus seminalis inserting on anterior third of corpus bursae, corpus bursae with single signum (Heinrich 1956; Neunzig 1997; Simonsen 2008).

Larva
According to Neunzig (1997) the larvae are robust with dark head and pronotum, and well defined pinaculum rings around the SD1 setae on mesothorax and abdomen 8.

Larval Hosts
The larvae feed on various scale insects, and occasionally flowers of scale infested plants (Heinrich 1956; Neunzig 1997).

Life History
Eggs are laid singly on or near the host. The larva spins a silk enclosure, which it enlarges as it grows, sometimes to extend from one scale insect to another (Neunzig 1997).

Distribution
Laetilia is known from the Americas south of Canada, but exact data on distribution and the number of species are uncertain. The genus may be absent from northwestern USA (Heinrich 1956; Neunzig 1997).

Species (provisionally)
     coccidivora
     hulstii
     dilatifasciella
     myercella
     bellivorella
     cinerosella
     fiskeella
     zamacrella
     ephestiella
     obscura
     portoricensis
     melanostathma
     amphimetra
     glomis