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Entomologist names new wasp species after UC Riverside

Serguei Triapitsyn discovered the wasp from the Russian Far East, and named it Gonatocerus ucri

An entomologist at the University of California, Riverside discovered a new wasp species in Russia and named it after the university, commonly abbreviated as UCR.

This photo shows Gonatocerus ucri, named after UCR. Credit: Entomology Research Museum, UC Riverside

Serguei V. Triapitsyn, principal museum scientist at the Entomology Research Museum on campus, had been sorting wasps from the Russian Far East, when he discovered several tiny female fairyflies, or mymarid wasps, 1.1 to 1.2 millimeters in body length.

He named the species Gonatocerus ucri in a research paper he published April 30 in the international scientific journal Zootaxa.

A Russian Academy of Sciences collaborator of Triapitsyn used a trap during 1999-2002 to collect minute wasps for the Entomology Research Museum in a remote location in Primorsky Kray, Russia, a region that has a largely unknown and very rich fauna of this group of insects. The trap contained alcohol that wasps dropped into, also serving as a preservative for the insects until they could be sent to UCR for study. It took Triapitsyn several years to complete the study, since identification of these minute wasps, which are hardly visible to a naked eye, requires special preparation.

Gonatocerus ucri is mostly brown in color and has long antennae and wings. Its host is unknown but other species in the same genus are beneficial insects known to parasitize eggs of leafhoppers, some of which are economically important agricultural pests worldwide.

"I decided to name it after UCR because that's where I work," Triapitsyn said. "The UCR Entomology Research Museum has extensive collections of parasitoid wasps from throughout the world, and I routinely discover new species among the collected material. I will soon also be describing another new species, this one from southern California, and name it after the Entomology Research Museum."

Triapitsyn received his doctoral degree in agricultural entomology from the Moscow Timiriazev Agricultural Academy, Russia. As principal museum scientist at UCR, he is in charge of the Entomology Research Museum and its collection of about three million specimens. He also conducts research in the taxonomy and biology of parasitic Hymenoptera as well as biological control.

He is the author or coauthor of more than 100 scientific publications in refereed journals, including several monographs.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus will open a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion. A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

Iqbal Pittalwala | EurekAlert!
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