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.
- 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.
- 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.
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