Friday, 28 June 2013

Two new species of Potter Wasps from Yunnan Province, China.

Potter Wasps are a group of solitary Wasps that get their name from their construction of mud or clay 'pots', which often resemble Greek urns, in which they place their eggs, along with paralyzed prey animals, usually Caterpillars or Spiders, for their young to consume as they grow. Potter Wasps are often large Insects, closely related to Social Wasps, and can be fairly formidable looking, though in fact they are fairly harmless to humans and will usually only sting if severely provoked. In many ecosystems they are considered to be an important control on the populations of plant pests, particularly Caterpillars.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 21 May 2013, Ju You, Bin Chen and Ting-jing Li of the Institute of Entomology & Molecular Biology at the College of Life Sciences at Chongqing Normal University, describe two new species of Potter Wasps from Diqing Prefecture in Yunnan Province in southwest China.

Both new species are placed in the genus Ancistrocerus; the so-called 'hook-horned' Potter Wasps, due to the hooks on the ends of their antennae.  The first new species is named Ancistrocerus transpunctatus, in reference to a row of pits on one of the segments of its abdomen. The species is described from four specimens from two different locations in Weixi County, all male. It is a 7.5-8.0 mm black Wasp with yellow and red markings on parts of its body. 

Ancistrocerus transpunctatus, male specimen. You et al. (2013).

The second species is named Ancistrocerus deqinensis, where deqinensis derives from Dequin County, where the species was discovered. The species is described on the basis of five male specimens from a single location. It is a 7.0-7.8 mm black Wasp, with yellow markings and yellow stripes on its abdomen.

Ancistrocerus deqinensis, male specimen. You et al. (2013).

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