The Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve in Peru, where the discovery was made, is considered the most biodiverse rainforest in the world. In recent decades, scientists have identified several new bird species there, and in the late 1980s it was documented as having the highest number of tree species in a single area.
Discovery of the parasitic wasp Capitojoppa
This time, biologists from the University of Turku in Finland described an entirely new species and genus of insect in the reserve, which they called Capitojoppa. They belong to the subfamily Ichneumoninae, i.e. parasitic wasps of the order Hymenoptera.
Wasps of this family are usually large and colorful, especially those that live in tropical regions, and their larvae parasitize on the caterpillars and pupae of moths and butterflies.
And so is the new Hornet. It is light yellow in color and has a very large head. It can grow up to 1.7 cm long and is a solitary endoparasite, meaning it lays a single egg inside the host’s body. The parasite’s victims may be caterpillars, beetles and even spiders. Once a host is located and captured, the female wasp strikes it with her antennae, then pierces it with an ovipositor (an organ used to lay eggs in holes in trees, soil, or in the bodies of other organisms) and deposits an egg inside.
After a few days, the egg hatches into a larva that eats the host from the inside. The next stage of development involves the larva growing inside the dead host and emerging from it as an adult wasp.
Feeding on a dead host is not the only parasitic behavior of the new species. An adult wasp that pierces its body with an ovipositor can, in addition to laying an egg, suck hemolymph from the puncture site on which it feeds.
– We have been studying insect biodiversity in this region since 1998 and already know that a record number of species live here. Capitojoppa has now been added to this group – says the lead author of the publication, Prof. Illary E. Saxjarvi.
New species, previously unknown to scientists, are usually named based on their characteristics or range. The name Capitojoppa fits this principle.
– Insects of the newly discovered genus have a large head, which is reflected in the “capito” part of the name. In contrast, “Juba” refers to the already known genus of Juba wasps, to which the new wasps closely resemble. The authors explained that the member referring to the species “Amazonica” refers to the region in which it was discovered.
— Allpahuayo-Mishana is a part of the Amazon region that is characterized by an extraordinary abundance of species. Due to the complex geological history of the area, several different types of rainforest grow in the reserve. The species diversity of many organisms here is the highest on the planet. Unfortunately, this area is currently changing rapidly due to human activity. When conducting research on insects, we also try to find out how human influence, for example through climate change, changes the nature in the rainforest – summarizes the professor. Saxjarvi.
Echo Richards embodies a personality that is a delightful contradiction: a humble musicaholic who never brags about her expansive knowledge of both classic and contemporary tunes. Infuriatingly modest, one would never know from a mere conversation how deeply entrenched she is in the world of music. This passion seamlessly translates into her problem-solving skills, with Echo often drawing inspiration from melodies and rhythms. A voracious reader, she dives deep into literature, using stories to influence her own hardcore writing. Her spirited advocacy for alcohol isn’t about mere indulgence, but about celebrating life’s poignant moments.