July 4, 2013
New Study Presents 32 New Wasp Species From The Distinctive Odontacolus And Cyphacolus Genera
The wasp family Platygastridae is a large group of tiny, exclusively parasitoid wasps distributed worldwide. The genera Odontacolus and Cyphacolus, belonging to this family, are among the most distinctive wasps because of the peculiar hump-like formation on the rear part of their bodies. Despite their intriguing body shape, the generic status of these two groups has remained unclear. A new extensive study published in the open access Zookeys presents a morphological phylogenetic analysis including an astonishing 32 new species.
Previously considered to be relatively rare based on material available in collections, recent intensive collecting using Malaise and yellow-pan traps has revealed that some species of Odontacolus are moderately common, leading to the description of 32 species from across Africa, Australia and Asia.
"This has been an intriguing study for several reasons; it has uncovered many new species of this group of wasps; their biology is particularly fascinating given they parasitise the eggs of spiders, and their horn like structure makes them very easy to identify," comments Professor Andy Austin.
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