Thomas J. Simonsen and Richard L. Brown
Last updated: Dec.15, 2009
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.
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).
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.
The larvae feed on various scale insects, and occasionally flowers of scale infested plants (Heinrich 1956; Neunzig 1997).
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).
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).