Researchers at the University of Turku in Finland discovered a new species of wasp with a larger stinger than other animals of its kind.
Scientists from the university's Biodiversity Unit have discovered a number of new species with stranger behavior and characteristics in the Amazonian rainforest in the recent years. This time, together with researchers from Colombia, Spain, and Venezuela, they discovered types of wasp that are previously unknown to science.
Their study was published in the journal Zootaxa.
Wasp With A Very Larger Stinger
The new wasp species called Clistopyga crassicaudata, also known as parasitoid wasp, was found in the area between the Andes and the Amazonian lowland rainforest. Professor Ilari Sääksjärvi, one of the researchers from the University of Turku, said that what makes C. crassicaudata different from other species in the family is its enormous stinger.
"The stinger of the new parasitoid wasp called Clistopyga crassicaudata is not only long but also very wide, in comparison with the size of the species. I have studied tropical parasitoid wasps for a long time but I have never seen anything like it. The stinger looks like a fierce weapon," said Sääksjärvi.
The stinger, called the ovipositor, is used not only to inject venom in defense against the enemy, but also as a mean to lay eggs. Sääksjärvi explained that the parasitoid wasp used its long ovipositor to reach out to a host animal living inside a tree before injecting it with paralyzing venom.
This behavior is typical of the rare wasp species that belong to the Clistopyga genus. These animals seek out spider nests and then inject them with their venom. They then lay their eggs on the spider and allow the hatching larva to eat the remaining of the spider's egg-sacs.
King Of Wasps Discovered
In 2012, scientists discovered a new breed of giant, venomous wasps on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. The specimen belongs to the larrine wasp family, which dig their nests out in the open and then grow up to 2.5 centimeters.
The king of wasps, Megalara garuda, is shrouded in mystery mainly because of its huge size. The study, which was published in the journal ZooKeys, noted that the female M. garuda looks similar than other species of wasps but the male ones are different.
The males have sickle-shaped jaws and flattened faces, which could be used to protect their nests.
"Other wasps of the same species often rob burrows for food, and parasites try to get in there, too," said Lynn Kimsey, coauthor and an entomologist at the University of California, Davis. "There's a serious advantage to having the nest guarded. This may be how the male helps guarantee his paternity."
Like the C. crassicaudata, the M. garuda is also facing threats as a large area of the island is converted into crop plantations. The Amazon rainforest has become a vulnerable ecosystem, which calls for conservation efforts to save its species.