These small wasps are 1-8 mm long, and most are metallic blue or green; some are black or yellow. Some species have large punctures in the cuticle of the thorax, and they have a small abdomen. Most are parasites and some are hyperpara-sites; some form galls on Acacia and Eucalyptus (Australia). The hosts of these wasps are spiders and insects. They attack eggs, larvae, pupae, and, rarely, adults.

Three cosmopolitan species are frequently found indoors and are parasites of beetle pests of stored grain: Theocolax elegans, Anisopteromalus calandre, and Lariophagus distinguendus; Pteromalus cerealellae parasitizes lepidopterous pests of grain. Several pteromalid species are associated with beetles infesting structural wood, including Theocolax formiciformis with anobi-ids, and Cerocephala rufa and Cerocephala spp. with Scolytidae, Anobiidae, Bostrichidae, and Lyctidae. The host of Cratomus megacephalus is unknown, butithas beenfound associated with wooden posts.

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