Research Highlights: New species of parasitic wasp discovered in Ecuador


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New species of parasitic wasp discovered in Ecuador

  • Dolichomitus is a genus of Darwin wasps with large bodies, long ovipositors, and intense colors.
  • The ovipositor is a female tubular organ used to deposit or lay eggs.[1]
  • The genus includes more than 75 species globally and 20 can be found in the Neotropics.
  • Neotropic is the region comprising of Central and South America which includes the tropical southern part of Mexico and the Caribbean.[2]
  • The new species named Dolichomitus meii was discovered in Yanayacu located on the Andes slopes of Ecuador.
  • Dr. Diego Pádua of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazonia said that the new species show what interesting surprises the Earth’s rainforests can have.
  • The new species is interesting due to its large size and distinct coloring.
  • The wasp’s body looks black with a quick glance however, with light, its color turns glittering electric blue.
  • Additionally, its wings are golden yellow thus, the wasp is like a flying gem.
  • This genus of wasps is usually parasitic on insect larvae that are found deep in the trunks of trees.
  • They lay one egg on insect larvae and the young wasp consumes the host larva from the inside as it undergoes development.
  • Professor Ilari Sääksjärvi of the University of Turku said that the ovipositor of Dolichomitus meii is very long.
  • The wasp sticks its ovipositor through a hole in the wood and attempts to find host larvae.
  • Researchers said that the distinct colors of the wasp act as a protection from birds that eat insects.
  • Birds do not eat the wasp sitting on a tree trunk because they think it does not taste good or that it is dangerous to eat.

Sources:

https://bdj.pensoft.net/article/67438

http://www.sci-news.com/biology/dolichomitus-meii-09823.html

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ovipositor

[2] Oxford Dictionary. https://languages.oup.com