April 23, 2013
71 New Wasp Species Discovered In Southeast Asia
A new study greatly expands knowledge of the wasp genus Oxyscelio. A total of 90 species are recognized from the Indo-Malayan and Palearctic realms of Asia, 71 of which are described here as new species. A total of 438 photographs are included to aid in specimen identification, all exported to and available for the public from EOL. Newly discovered species are described from a range of countries including Brunei, China, Christmas Island, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, while previous knowledge of the genus was confined only to The Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Australia. The study was published in the open access journal Zookeys.
Extensive specimen collecting in the following decades revealed that the actual number of species of Oxyscelio was much greater than previously recognized. The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) initiated Planetary Biodiversity Inventories (PBIs) to facilitate description of species that were known to a handful of scientific specialists but not yet officially published. Part of that initiative enabled the current study, which resulted from examination of thousands of preserved Oxyscelio specimens that had been housed in natural history collections around the world. This resulted in a more than fourfold increase in the number of species of Oxyscelio that are officially described from Asia.
Previously described species were examined to ensure that newly described species were distinct from them. This required the rediscovery of several species that had not been seen in a century or more, including the first described species of Oxyscelio, which had not been seen since its discovery in 1907. New technology enabled better examination of the morphology of these species, which had not even been photographed until the publication of this study.