Photo: Costa Rica
Researchers at the University of Illinois-Urbana are being credited with adding over 200 species of wasps to the 17,000 recognized wasps species list.
The entomologists from Urbana have described new species of parasitic wasps that belong to the tribe Heterospilini. There is also the possibility that another 50-100 species could be added to the list as research continues in Costa Rica.
Parasitic wasps inject their eggs into other insects. When the baby wasps hatch into larvae, they feed off the host’s insides, killing it. The larvae then pupate, which means these wasp burst out of a dead host’s skin.
The study has been published in the journal ZooKeys. The Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois-Urbana has been ranked #1 nationally among Entomology graduate programs.
This represents a remarkable and diverse find from such a geographically small area. This find adds to the enormous biodiversity in Costa Rica considered to be one of the 20 countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world. More than 500,000 species can be found in this small country representing nearly 4 percent of the total species estimated globally. Of these 500,000 species, just over 300,000 are insects.