A new wasp species discovered in China may be used in the future to help control a beetle that is damaging pine trees. The new wasp, Callimomoides monochaphagae Yang, is described in an article in Annals of the Entomological Society of America.
C. monochaphagae is a solitary wasp that parasitizes eggs of the pine sawyer (Monochamus alternatus Hope), a longhorned beetle pest that causes damage to pine trees in China and other eastern Asian countries. The pine sawyer beetles aid the spread of tiny nematodes that cause pine wilt disease, which has killed trees in a large area of China, causing economic and environmental damage.
“C. monochaphagae has great potential as a biocontrol agent for suppression of the longhorned beetle,” the authors write.
If they are able to control the beetle, then the spread of the nematodes and the disease can be controlled as well.
Like many parasitoid wasps, C. monochaphagae is very small. Females are only 5.7-7.6mm in length, and the males are even smaller at 2.8-3.2 mm.
The wasp gets its scientific name from the fact that it parasitizes this particular beetle. “Monochamus,” the genus of the pine sawyer beetle, plus the latin word “phaga,” which means to eat, are put together to make the species name “monochaphagae.”
However, the wasp does not actually eat the beetle. Instead, females locate eggs from pine sawyer beetles and then lay eggs of their own inside of them. When a wasp larva hatches, it eat the contents of the beetle egg and then chews a hole in the egg and exits it.
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