Thursday, 22 February 2018

The 11th species of an endemic Australian wasp genus

February 19, 2018, Flinders University

As well as an interest in all insects, Flinders biological sciences Ph.D. Ben Parslow has a fascination for wasps.

The focus of his doctorate research on the wasp genus Gasteruption has accidently has put him on the trail of describing the 11th species of an endemic Australian wasp genus.

It's estimated that there are three times the 10,140 or so described species of wasps still to be identified by scientists in Australia.

As such, he was most excited to come across a "really interesting looking wasp" in material loaned from a collection at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

"These Hyptiogaster wasps are uncommonly collected and the material was loaned to myself hidden among other wasps I am borrowing for my Ph.D. research," he says.

"It was a strange looking wasp and as soon as I saw it, it piqued my interest.

"After checking it against the described material, we were sure it was something new."

With University of Adelaide mentor Dr. John Jennings, the "new" Hyptiogaster wasp has been described in a new paper in Zootaxa.

"This species is the first of the genus to be described from the Northern Territory," he says.

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