Monday, 27 November 2017

A genus of European paper wasps revised for the first time using integrative taxonomy


Date:  November 13, 2017
Source:  Pensoft Publishers

Summary:
The European and Mediterranean species of the paper wasp genus Polistes were recently revised. For the first time for this group, scientists applied an integrative taxonomic approach which combines traditional morphological methods with DNA barcoding. As a result, the researchers were able to identify a new species from Morocco.

The European and Mediterranean species of the paper wasp genus Polistes were recently revised by scientists at the SNSB-Zoologische Staatssammlung München (ZSM).

For the first time for this group scientists applied an integrative taxonomic approach which combines traditional morphological methods with modern DNA barcoding.

As a result, the researchers were able to identify a new species from Morocco. For this well-researched wasp group, this is an actual sensation.

The study is published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

The Munich researchers analysed more than 260 wasp specimens collected from across the study area with the help of DNA barcoding.

They managed to identify all species and determine their distribution. In addition, based on the genetic data, they were able to evaluate morphological characters for each species and created a completely new key for identification.

The wasps of the genus Polistes belong to the family Vespidae. The genus is represented by 17 species in Europe and the Mediterranean, with four species occurring in Germany. Within the genus, 13 species are social, with the queen overwintering and founding a new nest with up to 200 workers. Four species are parasitic and have no workers.


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