Today’s Image of the Day features a brand new wasp species that has just been discovered in Africa.
Poropoea africana, a species of parasitic wasp, was found in the eggs of weevils and first identified by Dr. Silvano Biondi. The wasp is the first record of its genus in West-Central Africa. Dr. Biondi, along with colleagues Dr. Stefania Laudonia and Dr. Gennaro Viggiani from the University of Naples Federico II, found it only fitting to name the species after its home continent.
The team of researchers reported their findings in a paper published in the journal ZooKeys.
The new wasp species belongs to a larger group of wasps notorious for being egg parasitoids of leaf-rolling weevils.
Poropoea africana measures just under 2 mm in length. The wasp uses long ovipositors to lay its own eggs inside the eggs of its host. It differs from related species in the structure of the antennae and its thicker front and hind legs. The more robust legs appear to be a parasite adaptation to better support that body and efficiency of the ovipositor.
By Rory Arnold, Earth.com Staff Writer
Image: Dr. Stefania Laudonia, University of Naples Federico II