An expedition to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi has led to discovery of a new 'King of Wasps' - 80 years after it was first collected.
Megalara garuda is pitch-black, has an enormous body size, and its males have long, sickle-shaped jaws. It is one the largest known members of the crabronid subfamily Larrinae.
The species belongs into the digger wasp family, which is a diverse group of wasps with several thousands of species known from all over the world. Female digger wasps search for other insects as prey for their young and paralyze the prey by stinging it. Prey selection is often species specific, but the prey of the new species is unknown. With its unusual body size and the male's jaws, the new species differs from all known related digger wasps, so much so that it was placed in a new genus of its own, Megalara.
Megalara garuda. Credit: Dr. Lynn Kimsey, Dr. Michael Ohl
The new genus name is a combination of the Greek Mega, meaning large, and the ending of Dalara, a related wasp genus.
Lynn Kimsey of U.C. Davis and Michael Ohl of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, who discovered the giant wasp simultaneously and have worked on it in collaboration, named the species after Garuda, the national symbol of Indonesia, a part-human, part-eagle mythical creature known as the King of Birds in Hindu mythology.
Since this species has never been observed alive, nothing is known about its biology or behavior. The males of Megalara garuda are distinctly larger than the females, and bear very long jaws. As can be deduced from other insects with large jaws, it is likely that the males hold the females with it during copulation. It is also possible that they use the jaws for defense.
Megalara garuda male. Credit: Dr. Lynn Kimsey, Dr. Michael Ohl
Citation: Lynn S. Kimsey, Michael Ohl, 'Megalara garuda, a new genus and species of larrine wasps from Indonesia (Larrinae, Crabronidae, Hymenoptera)', ZooKeys 177: 49–57, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.177.2475 (FREE TO READ)
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Global 'Roadmap' Shows Where To Put Roads Without Costing The Earth
- Neil Tyson On The Politics Of Science Denial
- Synaptic Plasticity And Memory In Silent Neurons
- Low Carb Vs. Low Fat Diets: Which Is Better?
- Wockhardt Is First Indian Pharmaceutical Company To Get FDA QIDP Status
- How The Higgs Became The Target Of Run 2 At The Tevatron
- Brain Size Matters When It Comes To Remembering
- "So ignore the data that shows the Antarctic breaking ice extent records. Ignore the water displacement..."
- "You don't think science media is a lot better about calling out anti-science on both political..."
- "From what I have seen over the years on Science 2.0 I regard LagrangiansForBreakfast and Ed brown..."
- "Edison's superior lamp filament was made of carbon, not tungsten. In 1906, the General Electric..."
- "Those days are long gone seriously ?..."
- Simple awareness campaign in general practice identifies new cases of AF
- ROCKET AF trial suggests that digoxin increases risk of death in AF patients
- Health structures explain nearly 20 percent of non-adherence to heart failure guidelines
- Mechanical heart valves increase pregnancy risk
- Can auriculotherapy help relieve chronic constipation?