Navigation Links
Mummy-making wasps discovered in Ecuador
Date:5/8/2014

Some Ecuadorian tribes were famous for making mummified shrunken heads from the remains of their conquered foes. Field work in the cloud forests of Ecuador by Professor Scott Shaw, University of Wyoming, Laramie, and colleagues, has resulted in the discovery of 24 new species of Aleiodes wasps that mummify caterpillars. The research by Eduardo Shimbori, Universidade Federal de So Carlos, Brazil, and Scott Shaw, was recently published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Among the 24 new insect species described by Shimbori and Shaw, several were named after famous people including the comedians and television hosts Jimmy Fallon, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Ellen DeGeneres, as well as the Ecuadorian artist Eduardo Kingman, American poet Robert Frost, and Colombian singer and musician, Shakira.

The Shakira wasp causes its host caterpillar to bend and twist in an unusual way, which reminded the authors of belly-dancing, for which the South American performer is also famous. In a previous work, Shaw had named a species after David Letterman.

"These wasps are very small organisms, being only 4 to 9 millimeters long, but they have an enormous impact on forest ecology," Shaw said. Aleiodes wasps are parasites of forest caterpillars. The female wasps search for a particular kind of caterpillar, and inject an egg into it. Parasitism by the wasp does not immediately kill the caterpillar, but it continues to feed and grow for a time. Eventually, feeding by the wasp larva causes the host caterpillar to shrink and mummify, then the immature wasp makes its cocoon inside the mummified remains of its conquered prey.

When it completes its development, the young wasp cuts an exit hole from the caterpillar mummy and flies away to mate, and continue this cycle of parasitic behavior. "Killing and mummifying caterpillars may sound bad, but these are actually highly beneficial insects," Shaw says. "These wasps are helping to naturally control the populations of plant-feeding caterpillars, so they help to sustain the biodiversity of tropical forests."

Shaw tells more about the behavior of parasitic wasps and other insects in his forthcoming book, Planet of the Bugs, due to be published by the University of Chicago Press in September.

The field research was conducted by Shaw at the Yanayacu cloud forest research station of Napo Province, in the eastern Andes slopes of Ecuador. Previous research by Shaw had discovered nine species of mummy-making wasps at the site, and others are known from around the world, but the full extent of these insect's biodiversity in Ecuador did not become apparent until recently, when Shimbori and Shaw collaborated to name them all. The research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, called Caterpillars and Parasitoids of the Eastern Andes.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Scott R. Shaw
Braconid@uwyo.edu
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Researchers find unique fore wing folding among Sub-Saharan African Ensign wasps
2. Almost 200 new species of parasitoid wasps named after local parataxonomists in Costa Rica
3. Wasps use ancient aggression genes to create social groups
4. 7 new species of nearctic wasps described and illustrated
5. Fossils clarify the origins of wasps and their kin: alderfly ancestors, snakefly cousins
6. Survival of the fittest: Predator wasps breed at the expense of spider juveniles
7. Small wasps to control a big pest?
8. New cause of high blood pressure and heart disease discovered
9. Genetic disorder causing strokes and vascular inflammation in children has been discovered
10. New electric fish genus and species discovered in Brazils Rio Negro
11. Novel marker discovered for stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Mummy-making wasps discovered in Ecuador
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016 Research and Markets ... America 2016-2020" report to their offering. ... North America to grow at a CAGR of 12.28% ... prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry ... over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics ... as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during the ... Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... growth in each of the following categories: net square feet ... of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016   Acuant , the ... solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ® ... Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous Workforce ... add functional enhancements to existing physical access ... venues with an automated ID verification and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... innovative medical technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. The company's primary ... various distribution, manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary to help companies ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Regular discussions on a range ... place between the two entities said Poloz. Speaking ... Ottawa , he pointed to the country,s inflation ... federal government. "In ... "Both institutions have common economic goals, why not sit down ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with ... in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 A person commits a crime, ... scene to track the criminal down. An outbreak ... and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used ... investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole ...
Breaking Biology Technology: