– The stinger of the new parasitoid wasp called Clistopyga crassicaudata is not only long but also very wide, in comparison with the size of the species. I have studied tropical parasitoid wasps for a long time but I have never seen anything like it. The stinger looks like a fierce weapon, says Professor in Biodiversity Research Ilari E. Sääksjärvi from the University of Turku.
The species was discovered among the insect specimens collected in the extremely diverse transitional zone between the Andes and the Amazonian lowland rainforest. The newly described wasp is different to other known species due to its enormous stinger.
– All female wasps, such as bees and hornets, have a stinger for injecting venom or laying eggs. The parasitoid wasps usually have a long ovipositor for laying eggs which is handy for reaching the host animals living inside a tree, for instance. With the ovipositor, the egg is placed either on or inside the host, and, as it also works as a stinger, the female wasp can inject venom into host in order to paralyse it, explains Professor Sääksjärvi.
The newly described parasitoid species belong to the rare Clistopyga genus that specialises in laying their eggs into spiders or spider egg-sacs. The wasps seek out spiders living in nests and paralyse them with a quick venom injection. Then the female wasp lays its eggs on the spider and the hatching larva eats the paralysed spider as well as the possible spider eggs or hatchlings.