A new group of unique wasp species which belong to the genus Idris Förster was recently discovered by researchers in India. Species under this genus are insects that can exclusively target and parasitize spider eggs found in leaf litters and vegetation.
The five new wasp species discovered by Prashanth Mohanraj, F. R. Khan, and Dr. Veenakumari Kamalanathan closely resemble one another, which is why they are considered as one group.
These wasp species, known under the proposed group name "adikeshavus," have long hair-like structures along the margins of their wings. The word "adikeshavus" means "first one to have long hairs" in Sanskrit, researchers say.
In a report issued in the journal Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift, the five new wasp species were named as the Idris adikeshavus, Idris brevicornis, Idris deergakombus, Idris lopamudra and Idris teestai. These species have a uniform length of 1 to 2 millimeters. They are accustomed to parasitizing spider eggs that are relatively medium-sized.
The report also said that parallel evolution has enabled these wasps to grow tiny wings that allow them to sneak through the silk of the egg sacs deposited by spiders in leaf litters.
Scientists believe that there are more than a thousand parasitic wasp species that exist in the genus Idris Förster, so it was necessary to cluster them into identifiable groups to aid in future studies. So far, the only official group under this genus is the melleus group.
Currently, there are 24 known parasitic wasp species in India. The authors of the study also said that the wasp species are highly likely to produce a huge population of species of parasitoids targeting spider eggs there.
Meanwhile, scientists said the wasp family Platygastridae is ubiquitous. These parasitic species are spread out worldwide. Recently, 32 new species from the Cyphacolus and Odontacolus, genera which both belong to this wasp family, were also studied by scientists. These species are distinctive because of a strange hump-like formation toward the end of their bodies.
These wasp species are about 1 to 2.5 millimetters in length. They are extremely vicious parasitoids because they use their ovipositor, the organ they use for laying eggs, to inject their own eggs into spider eggs. This act ensures the growth and development of these wasp species at the expense of other insects, scientists said.