A new wasp species with a fierce weapon — dubbed Clistopyga crassicaudata — has been discovered in the western Amazonia.
Clistopyga crassicaudata belongs to the genus Clistopyga, a group of parasitoid wasps that specialize in laying their eggs into spiders or spider egg-sacs.
“Females of Clistopyga crassicaudata seek out spiders living in nests and paralyze them with a quick venom injection,” the researchers said.
“Then the wasp lays its eggs on the spider and the hatching larva eats the paralyzed spider as well as the possible spider eggs or hatchlings.”
“We do not know for sure which spider this wasp species prefers,” Professor Sääksjärvi added.
Parasitoid wasps usually have a long ovipositor for laying eggs which is handy for reaching the host animals living inside a tree, for instance.
With the ovipositor, an egg is placed either on or inside the host, and, as it also works as a stinger, a female wasp can inject venom into host in order to paralyze it.
“The stinger of the new parasitoid wasp called Clistopyga crassicaudata is not only long but also very wide, in comparison with the size of the species,” Professor Sääksjärvi noted.
“I’ve studied tropical parasitoid wasps for a long time but I’ve never seen anything like it. The stinger looks like a fierce weapon.”
Edgard Palacio et al. 2018. The Neotropical species of Clistopyga (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae, Pimplinae). Part II: the C. isayae species group, with the description of seven new species. Zootaxa 4442 (1); doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.4442.1.5