Friday 17 August 2012

New species of Ichneumon Wasp from Columbia.

Ichneumon Wasps are a group of highly specialized solitary wasps that lay their eggs inside the bodies of other insects (or, more typically, the larvae of other insects). The Wasp larvae then hatches inside the host, whereupon it proceeds to eat the other insect from within, typically killing its host as it emerges. This is a highly successful, if rather gruesome, survival strategy, and their are over 60 000 described species of Ichneumon Wasps around the world.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 1 August 2012, Andrés Fabián Herrera Flórez of the Department of Entomology at the University of Manitoba describes a new species of Ichneumon Wasp based upon specimens in the insect collection of the Instituto de Ciencias Naturales at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, which were re-examined as part of an undergraduate study on the subfamily Labeninae, which parasitize Beetle Grubs, Lacewings, Spiders, Solitary Bees and Gall Wasps.

The new species is placed in the genus Apechoneura, the only genus of the Labeninae found in the Americas, all other genera being Australian or Australasian in distribution. It is based upon three female specimens collected in the Parque Nacional Natural Amacayacu Caño Mata Matá in 1989, and given the specific name seminigra, meaning 'half-black', due to its colouration. A possibly male specimen is also described, but this is damaged and not included in the formal description of the species. Apechoneura seminigra is a 25 mm orange and black wasp.

Apechoneura seminigra. (Top left) Line drawing of female specimen. (Top right) Line drawing of possible male specimen. (Middle) Photograph of female specimen. (Bottom) Line Drawing of possible male specimen. Herrera Flórez (2012).

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