Nine Colorful New Wasp Species Discovered in China

Posted on December 19, 2013

C. tibetensis


Scientists have discovered nine colorful new wasp species in China. The wasps belong to the cucko wasp genus Cleptes and the family, Chrysididae. The metallic blue species, C. tibetensis, is pictured above and C. helanshanus is pictured below.

The wasps are parasitoids of the prepupae of sawflies. They sneak in and lay their eggs in the nests of their hosts.

The wasps also have the ability to curl into a protective ball when it danger. The same defense mechanism as seen in pills bugs, armadillos and the extinct trilobite.

Zai-fu Xu, South China Agricultural University, says in a statement, "Relatively thoroughly studied in Europe and North America, there are only a few and non-systematic studies for Asia. In China, the fauna of Cleptes is still very poorly known. This study is the first revision of the genus there, recognising seventeen species, nine of which are new to science, and marking the road for future studies."

The research was published here in the journal, ZooKeys.

C. helanshanus


Photos: Zai-fu Xu