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Top 10 - 2012

Dive-bombing Wasps

(Photo credit: C. van Achterberg)

Name:  Kollasmosoma sentum

Family: Braconidae

How it made the Top 10:  This new species of parasitic wasp cruises at just one centimeter above the ground in search of its target.  When its host is located (the ant Cataglyphis ibericus), this teensy wasp attacks from the air like a tiny dive bomber and deposits an egg in the unsuspecting ant.  The sorties last on average a scant 0.052 seconds but are deadly, transforming ants into rations for larvae of the wasps.  When ants are aware of the air raid they may wave away the wasps with their legs or turn with mandibles open to face the assailant.  This impressive egg-laying or oviposition behavior has been captured on film and may be seen on YouTube (link below).

 

Watch them attack!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpMGhGMWaTA

 

Etymology: sentum is from the Latin word, sentus, meaning “thorny” or “spiny” to reflect the “thorn-like spine of the fifth sternite of the female.”

 

Type Material: Holotype - Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis, Leiden, Netherlands

 

Type Locality: Institute for Agriculture and Food Research and Technology, Madrid, Spain.

 

Reference: Gómez Durán, J-M. & van Achterberg, C. (2011). Oviposition behaviour of four ant parasitoids (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Euphorinae, Neoneurini and Ichneumonidae, Hybrizontinae), with the description of three new European species. ZooKeys 125: 59 – 106.

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