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New Species: Five Long-Haired Parasitic Wasps Found In India

Nov 09, 2015 01:30 PM EST
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Five unique species of parasitic wasps have been discovered in parts of India. Among the characteristics that bring these new wasps together are long hair-like structures that extend from both of their wings. This feature places the insects in a taxonomic group known as adikeshavus, meaning "first one to have long hairs." 

Dr. Veenakumari Kamalanathan, of the ICAR-National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources, led the recent discovery. Generally, parasitic wasps are assigned to a superfamily based on their preference for a specific host. The five new wasps are known to exclusively choose spider eggs and have evolved with a small enough body size (one to two mm in length) that allows them to slip between the silk strands surround egg sacs deposited in leaf litter. (Scroll to read more...)

Essentially, hosts harbor parasites and provide nutrition and shelter. This is known as a parasitic relationship, where an organism, the parasite, lives off of another organism, the host, which causes harm and potentially death. 

Parallel evolution, or the response to challenges throughout lineages, explains the unique wing structure and small body size of adikeshavus wasps, according to the researchers. 

With as few as 24 known parasitic wasp species in India, this finding suggests there may be many more unknown individuals to be found. 

Their study was recently published in the journal Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift.

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