The scientists from the University of Turku, Finland, discovered a new wasp species, the Clistopyga crassicaudata, which inhabits the area between the Amazonian jungle and the Andes mountains, and is a parasitic species of wasps. But what baffled the researchers is this newly found wasp’s monstrous stinger.
“I have studied tropical parasitoid wasps for a long time, but I have never seen anything like it. The stinger looks like a fierce weapon,” explained Ilari E. Saaksjarvi, one of the researchers who made the discovery.
The monstrous stinger of the Clistopyga crassicaudata wasps is not only longer than in any other wasp species but is also wider which makes it a terrible “weapon,” particularly given the fact that wasps, unlike bees, can sting multiple times without dying.
Commonly, female wasps use their stingers to either defend themselves injecting venom or to lay eggs, but the Clistopyga crassicaudata parasitic wasps, in fact, possess a large eggs laying ovipositor which is also used as a stinger.
The new wasp species with monstrous stinger have a particular manner to lay eggs
Clistopyga crassicaudata wasps find spider nests and then use their large stingers to paralyze spiders by injecting venom. Then, these puzzling parasitic wasps lay their eggs on the spiders. When the wasp larvae emerge, they eat the spiders and their eggs.
“The giant stinger of the current species is very likely a highly sophisticated tool as well, but unfortunately we can only guess at its purpose,” explained Professor Saaksjarvi.
As fearsome as this new wasp species looks like with its monstrous stinger, these parasitic wasps, along with their regular “cousins,” are beneficial to us all because they enjoy devouring many pest insects or at least use them as hosts for their larvae. Thus, one way or another, wasps kill the majority of pest insects which, otherwise, would affect crops.