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The colors of nature: Nine beautiful new wasp species from China

Date:
December 13, 2013
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
The first revision of the cuckoo wasp genus Cleptes from China has brought to light nine new gorgeously colored species from the genus. The genus is part of the engaging Chrysididae wasp family, known for their bright metallic body colors and their peculiar parasitizing and defensive mechanisms.
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This image shows off the beautiful metallic shine of the new species C. tibetensis.
Credit: Zai-fu Xu; CC-BY 4.0

A new study provides seventeen records of the cuckoo wasp genus Cleptes from China, nine of which are beautifully coloured new to science species. The study, published in the open access journal ZooKeys, is the first revision of the genus from China, providing morphological data and illustrations.

The revised genus belongs to the engaging cuckoo wasp family Chrysididae. As their common name suggests, these wasps have some peculiar parasitoid nesting habits. Often highly sculptured, with brilliantly colored metallic-like bodies they are also called jewel wasps, gold wasps, or emerald wasps.

Just like the cuckoo the wasps sneak in and lay their eggs in host nests. When hatched the larvae consume the host egg or larva, while they are still young, and after eliminating competition they move onto consuming the provisions. The members of the genus revised are parasitoids of the prepupae of sawflies.

Another interesting survival mechanism of the cuckoo wasps is their ability to curl into a protective ball when in danger, a process known as conglobation. In nature this mechanism is also seen in pill bugs and armadillos.

"Relatively thoroughly studied in Europe and North America, there are only a few and non-systematic studies for Asia. In China, the fauna of Cleptes is still very poorly known. This study is the first revision of the genus there, recognising seventeen species, nine of which are new to science, and marking the road for future studies," comments Zai-fu Xu, South China Agricultural University.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Na-sen Wei, Paolo Rosa, Xu Zaifu. Revision of the Chinese Cleptes (Hymenoptera, Chrysididae) with description of new species. ZooKeys, 2013; 362: 55 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.362.6175

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Pensoft Publishers. "The colors of nature: Nine beautiful new wasp species from China." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213135431.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2013, December 13). The colors of nature: Nine beautiful new wasp species from China. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213135431.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "The colors of nature: Nine beautiful new wasp species from China." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131213135431.htm (accessed July 3, 2015).

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