Monday 27 February 2017

Poropoea africana: A new species of Trichogrammatid Wasp from Gabon.

Trichogrammatid Wasps are among the smallest of Insects, with adults often smaller than a millimetre in length. They are parasitiods, with a larval stage that grows inside the eggs of other Insects, typically Beetles. In many species the males never emerge, mating with their own sisters within the egg, The adults are poor fliers, and largely just drift on winds, eventually settling and seeking eggs in which to deposit their larvae on foot. Members of the genus Poropoea are known from across Eurasia and North America, with some species known from Africa and Madagascar. They target Leaf-rolling Weevils, Attelabidae, which are often serious agricultural pests, which opens the possibility of using these Wasps as biological control agents.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 23 February 2017, Stefania Laudonia and Gennaro Viggiani of the Department of Agriculture at the University of Naples Federico II and Silvano Biondi of Vicenza, describe a new species of Trichogrammatid Wasp from the Ivindo National Park in Ogooué-Ivindo Province in north-eastern Gabon.

The new species is named Poropoea africana, in reference to the continent where it was found. It is described from two adult females that emerged from the eggs of the Weevil species Paratomapoderus brachypterus. These were 1.18 mm in length and black in colour with red eyes and yellow markings on their limbs. 

Poropoea africana, female specimen. Laudonia et al. (2017).

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