Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New family of wasps found in North American amber, closest relatives in southern hemisphere

Date:
September 26, 2011
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
After being alerted to two unusual wasps in amber found in New Jersey, a researcher in South Africa has determined that they represent a new family of wasps, but with its closest relatives found in South America and South Africa.

This is a holotype of Plumalexius rasnitsyni.
Credit: Denis Brothers

After being alerted by Alexandr Rasnitsyn (Palaeontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow) to two unusual wasps in amber found in New Jersey, USA, Denis Brothers (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) has determined that they represent a new family of wasps, but with its closest relatives found in South America and South Africa.

Related Articles


The study was published in a special issue of the open-access journal ZooKeys dedicated to the 75th birthday of Professor Rasnitsyn.

The new family has been named Plumalexiidae, and comprises one new species, Plumalexius rasnitsyni Brothers, the names honouring Alexandr Rasnitsyn, who is undoubtedly the world's foremost authority on the diversity and fossil history of the Hymenoptera, the group of insects which comprises wasps, bees, ants, sawflies and their relatives, in commemoration of his 75th birthday.

The only known specimens are two small males found in Late Cretaceous amber from New Jersey, USA, dating from over 90 million years ago, which was apparently formed in a forested swampy environment. A detailed analysis during which they were compared with specimens of a variety of wasp groups, has shown that they are apparently most closely related to the family Plumariidae, now found only in the arid areas of South America and southern Africa and not known from any fossils. Although they share a few features with the Plumariidae, they also look very different, and so are considered best placed in a different family. The dissimilar habitats involved also indicate that their lifestyles and habits must have been different.

This finding raises many questions about the origins of the larger group of stinging wasps to which the new family belongs (the superfamily Chrysidoidea), the reasons for the apparently disjunct distributions of the grouping (Plumalexiidae in North America and Plumariidae in South America and southern Africa), and the biology of the new family (and even that of the Plumariidae, males and females of which have never been associated directly, and whose behaviour has not been observed in the field). These questions can only be answered satisfactorily once additional specimens, preferably from other localities, have been found.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Denis Brothers. A new Late Cretaceous family of Hymenoptera, and phylogeny of the Plumariidae and Chrysidoidea (Aculeata). ZooKeys, 2011; 130 (0): 515 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.130.1591

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "New family of wasps found in North American amber, closest relatives in southern hemisphere." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926095341.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2011, September 26). New family of wasps found in North American amber, closest relatives in southern hemisphere. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926095341.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "New family of wasps found in North American amber, closest relatives in southern hemisphere." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926095341.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins