Monday, 9 March 2015

The wasp with a face shaped like a knife blade

The newly-discovered insect has a large ridge in the middle of its face, which it might use to rip caterpillars open

Presented by
Michael Marshall

Meet Cyranorogas depardieui. It's a wasp, but not like any wasp you've ever seen. Its face has a sharp ridge, like the blade of a knife, sticking out of it.

The new wasp was discovered during an expedition to Mount Wilhelm, the highest mountain in Papua New Guinea, in 2012.

It has now been formally described in the Journal of Natural History by Buntika Butcher and Donald Quicke of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

"The wasp is very unusual," says Quicke.

The species name contains two jokes about big noses. "Cyranorogas" refers to Cyrano de Bergerac, a 17th-century French playwright who supposedly had a large nose, while "depardieui" refers to the actor Gérard Depardieu, who played Bergerac in a 1990 film.

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