|By Joseph Scalise | 2 years ago|
A new species of parasitic wasp uncovered in the Amazon has a gigantic stinger that it uses to both paralyze and deposit eggs into other insects, according to a new study published in the journal Zootaxa.
Researchers from the University of Turku found the insect — known as Calistoga crassicaudata — deep in the jungle along with six other never before seen wasp species. The deadly insect measures only 9.8 millimeters long. However, it is equipped with an extremely long stinger that is roughly half its body length.
Those interesting traits make it a truly unique find and show why it stands out from other newly found wasp species.
“We are finding new species all the time, but only a small fraction of them are so exciting,” explained study co-author Ilari Sääksjärvi, an entomologist at the University of Turkum, according to Live Science.
C. crassicaudata is a parasitoid, which means it lays eggs on or in the bodies of other insects. Then, when the eggs hatch, the young kill and consume the host for sustenance.
Though many such species come equipped with a long stinger known as a ovipositor, C. crassicaudata is different because its stinger is also extremely wide. That difference makes them much more durable and worth of extra study.
While the parasitoids’ stingers do not typically hurt humans, they do a good job of controlling pests and keeping certain bug populations in check. As a result, they play a key role in the Amazonian ecosystem.
As the newfound species is so interesting, the team plans to continue studying them to see what else they can find about the unusual creatures.
“I have studied tropical parasitoid wasps for a long time, but I have never seen anything like it,” added Sääksjärvi, according to Fox News.