Thursday 16 October 2014

Three new species of Sapygid Wasps from Vietnam and Sumatra.

Sapygid Wasps are a widespread in northern Eurasia and North America, but considered rare elsewhere and are unknown in Australia, although the group are not well studied, and their distribution may be wider than realised. To date only a few species have been described from South and East Asia, although the oldest known fossil member of the group comes from Cretaceous Burmese Amber, suggesting that the group either originated in this region or has existed there for a very long time. The Wasps are cleptoparasites of solitary Bees, laying their eggs within the Bees’ nests, where the young Wasps consume both the larvae of the Bees and the food that their mothers provision them with.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 13 January 2014, Cornelisvan Achterberg of the Department of Terrestrial Zoology at the NaturalisBiodiversity Center in Leiden, The Netherlands, describes two new species of Sapygid Wasps, from Vietnam and Sumatra. Both are placed in the genus Parasapyga, which currently contains only a single species, Parasapyga moelleri, which has been recorded from Sikkim State in India and Sumatra, although van Achterberg considers the Sumatran population of this species to be different from the Sikkim population (which was described first) and also describes this as a new species.

The first new species is named Parasapyga boschi, after the scientific illustrator Erik-Jan Bosch of Leiden, for his excellent illustrations of the Hymenoptera (Wasps, Bees and Ants). The species is described from a single female Wasp collected in Cát Tien National Park in southern Vietnam. In is 18.7 mm in length and black in colour with a reddish brown abdomen.

Parasapyga boschi, female specimen. Erik-Jan Bosch in van Achterberg (2014).

The second new species is named Parasapyga yvonnae, after Yvonne van Nierop, who helped in the collection of the specimen from which the species is named, for her efforts in collecting in North Sumatra. The species is described from a single female specimen from North Sumatra. The specimen is 13.9 mm in length, black with an orange-red abdomen.

Parasapyga yvonnae, female specimen. Van Achterberg (2014).

Finally van Achterberg elevates a population of Wasps previously described from South Sumatra as a subspecies of Parasapyga moelleri to full species status. This population was formerly known as Parasapyga mölleri walshae, and now becomes Parasapyga walshae (modern taxonomy no longer allows accents in species naming, though these are sometimes encountered in older species; in this case the ‘ö’ has been replaced with ‘oe’ to keep the pronunciation the same).

Parasapyga walshae, female specimen. Van Achterberg (2014).

See also…

The Betylobraconinae are a group of Braconid Wasps (small parasitoid Wasps that lack stings and which will lay more than one egg on a host Insect) found in Australia, New Guinea and New Caledonia. They are abundant within their range, but their biology is poorly...

Braconid Wasps are small parasitoid wasps (Wasps whose larvae grow inside the bodies of a living animal host) targeting a variety of Insect and Spider species. They are unusual in that they will lay multiple eggs within the same host (most parasitoid Wasps lay a single egg on each host), thereby allowing multiple larvae to...

Platygastrid Wasps are a large group of (mostly very small) parasitoid Wasps (Wasps whose larvae develop inside the bodies of a living animal host), found across the globe. They have a long fossil record, being...

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