32 New Species of Tiny Parasitoid Wasps Discovered

Posted on July 3, 2013

Odontacolus berryae

Scientists have announced the discovery of 32 new species of tiny, parasitoid wasps. The wasps belong to the genera Odontacolus and Cyphacolus. They were found in Africa, Australia and Asia. They are known for a peculiar hump-like formation on the rear part of their bodies. Odontacolus berryae is pictured above and Odontacolus aldrovandii is pictured below. The research was published here in ZooKeys.

The tiny wasps only reach a maximum length between 1 and 2.5 mm. Despite their small size, the tiny wasps are vicious parasitoids. They use their ovipositor to inject eggs into spider eggs, thus ensuring the development of their offspring at the expense of other species.

Professor Andy Austin said in a statement, "This has been an intriguing study for several reasons; it has uncovered many new species of this group of wasps; their biology is particularly fascinating given they parasitise the eggs of spiders, and their horn like structure makes them very easy to identify."

Odontacolus aldrovandii

Photos: A. A.Valerio & A. D. Austin

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