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Insects in the family Aulacidae are endoparasitoids of wood-boring wasps (Xiphydriidae) and beetles (Cerambycidae and Buprestidae) (Carlson 1979; Gauld & Bolton 1996; Smith 2001, Jennings & Austin 2004). Although at various times Aulacidae has been treated as a subfamily or other group within Evaniidae, recent literature regards them as a distinct family (e.g., Mason 1990; Naumann 1991; Gauld 1995; Jennings & Austin 2000; Smith 2001; Jennings et al. 2004a,b,c). There are three described extant genera: Aulacus and Pristaulacus, which are worldwide (except New Zealand and Madagascar) in distribution, and Panaulix, which is confined to sub-Saharan Africa. As well, the extinct Hyptiogastrites electrinus Cockerell, 1917, from Lower Cretaceous (Upper Albian) Burmese amber is included within the Aulacidae.
Smith (2001) provided a catalogue of the world aulacid fauna and included 48 species of Aulacus Jurine, 106 species of Pristaulacus Kieffer, and two species of Panaulix Benoit. Since then several new species from Australia and New Caledonia have been described, including 9 Aulacus spp. and 3 Pristaulacus spp. (Jennings et al. 2004a,b,c). About 40 more undescribed species from Australia, seven from New Guinea (Jennings, unpublished) and many more undescribed species from South America (Smith, unpublished) have been identified.