Researchers from the University of Turku, Finland have discovered a new wasp species in the Amazon which has an exceptionally large stinger that surprised even the scientists. The new insect, which is found in the extremely diverse transitional zone between the Andes and the Amazonian lowland rainforest, uses its stinger both for laying eggs and injecting venom.
Researchers from the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku, Finland, have in the recent years found and described several new animal species from all over the world - especially from Amazonia. Many of these animals are unusual in their characteristics and habits. In their latest study, the scientists, in collaboration with colleagues from Colombia, Spain and Venezuela, discovered several wasp species unknown to science from the Amazon which were described and named in the latest issue of the Zootaxa journal.
- 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, says Professor in Biodiversity Research Ilari E. Sääksjärvi from the University of Turku.
The species was discovered among the insect specimens collected in the extremely diverse transitional zone between the Andes and the Amazonian lowland rainforest. The newly described wasp is different to other known species due to its enormous stinger.
- All female wasps, such as bees and hornets, have a stinger for injecting venom or laying eggs. The parasitoid wasps usually have a long ovipositor for laying eggs which is handy for reaching the host animals living inside a tree, for instance. With the ovipositor, the egg is placed either on or inside the host, and, as it also works as a stinger, the female wasp can inject venom into host in order to paralyse it, explains Professor Sääksjärvi.
The newly described parasitoid species belong to the rare Clistopyga genus that specialises in laying their eggs into spiders or spider egg-sacs. The wasps seek out spiders living in nests and paralyse them with a quick venom injection. Then the female wasp lays its eggs on the spider and the hatching larva eats the paralysed spider as well as the possible spider eggs or hatchlings.
- We do not know for sure which spider this wasp species prefers. A couple of years ago I described the elaborate and fascinating habits of the Clistopyga parasitoid wasp together with Doctoral Candidate Niclas Fritzén from the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku. The insect we were studying at the time could use its stinger as an intricate felting needle and handily close the spider's web nest trapping the paralysed inhabitant within. The giant stinger of the current species is very likely a highly sophisticated tool as well, but unfortunately we can only guess at its purpose, says Professor Sääksjärvi.
The research group of the Biodiversity Unit is currently applying for funding for new field studies, the purpose of which is to look for more Clistopyga parasitoid wasps in the rainforests of western Amazon. The goal is to describe the habits of the peculiar wasp species and to decipher their evolutionary history.
- The new species unknown to science also help in conserving the endangered rainforests. Beautiful and exciting species with strange habits catch people's attention and highlight the importance of maintaining vulnerable ecosystems, says Professor Sääksjärvi.
Ilari E. Sääksjärvi | EurekAlert!
Researchers develop a new method for turning skin cells into pluripotent stem cells
06.07.2018 | University of Helsinki
How does Parkinson's disease develop? Study raises doubts on previous theory of Parkinson’s disease
06.07.2018 | Universität Basel
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
Sizes and shapes of nuclei with more than 100 protons were so far experimentally inaccessible. Laser spectroscopy is an established technique in measuring fundamental properties of exotic atoms and their nuclei. For the first time, this technique was now extended to precisely measure the optical excitation of atomic levels in the atomic shell of three isotopes of the heavy element nobelium, which contain 102 protons in their nuclei and do not occur naturally. This was reported by an international team lead by scientists from GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung.
Nuclei of heavy elements can be produced at minute quantities of a few atoms per second in fusion reactions using powerful particle accelerators. The obtained...
A team headed by the TUM physicists Alexander Holleitner and Reinhard Kienberger has succeeded for the first time in generating ultrashort electric pulses on a chip using metal antennas only a few nanometers in size, then running the signals a few millimeters above the surface and reading them in again a controlled manner. The technology enables the development of new, powerful terahertz components.
Classical electronics allows frequencies up to around 100 gigahertz. Optoelectronics uses electromagnetic phenomena starting at 10 terahertz. This range in...
Russian researchers together with their French colleagues discovered that a genuine feature of superconductors -- quantum Abrikosov vortices of supercurrent -- can also exist in an ordinary nonsuperconducting metal put into contact with a superconductor. The observation of these vortices provides direct evidence of induced quantum coherence. The pioneering experimental observation was supported by a first-ever numerical model that describes the induced vortices in finer detail.
These fundamental results, published in the journal Nature Communications, enable a better understanding and description of the processes occurring at the...
03.07.2018 | Event News
28.06.2018 | Event News
28.06.2018 | Event News
06.07.2018 | Information Technology
06.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
06.07.2018 | Life Sciences