Newly Discovered Parasite Wasp in Costa Rica Shocks Scientists

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A newly discovered wasp species that so far it has only been found in Costa Rica, has experts around the world shocked because the small insect cuts its host open from the inside.

Dendrocerus scutellaris is the scientific name of this sesame seed size wasp that has the characteristic of having saw-like spikes which scientists suspect are used by the wasp to cut open the host and lay their eggs, when the wasps are ready to leave the host body they use these same spikes to exit their host.

The study was published in the Biodiversity Data Journal by a research team from the Frost Entomological Museum (PhD candidate Carolyn Trietsch, Dr. István Mikó and Dr. Andrew Deans) at Penn State and Dr. David Notton from the Museum of Natural History of London.

The Dendrocerus scutellaris are part of the Dendrocerus genus wasps. Scientists have not been able to observe the wasp in the wild, but the information already gathered from the Dendrocerus and the morphological differences found in the D. Scutellaris allow them to determine it is an endoparasitoid, which means it lays their eggs directly inside the host.

“While their lives may sound gruesome, parasitoid wasps are harmless to humans and can even be helpful,” explain the scientists. “Depending on the host they parasitize, parasitoids can benefit agriculture by controlling pest insects like aphids that damage crops.”

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