Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A new braconid wasp:Pseudofornicia nigrisoma

The wasp family Braconidae is huge. To this date we know about 17 000 species but estimates go as high as 50 000. All of the braconids are parasitoids which means they spend a significant portion of their life as parasites of a host organism. 

Braconid wasps parasitize upon beetle, fly or butterfly larvae but also on adult insects of groups such as aphids and true bugs. Most species kill their hosts, though some cause the hosts to become sterile and less active.

Our new species which comes from Vietnam is also part of a newly described genus. The genus name was derived from the greek word for fallacy, pseudos and the genus name of a group with similar looking species, Fornicia. The species name comes from the Latin word for black, nigro, and the Greek word for body, soma, all because of the largely black body.

For the experts: Pseudofornicia gen. n. (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Microgastrinae) is described (type species: P. nigrisoma sp. n. from Vietnam) including three Oriental (type species, P. flavoabdominis (He & Chen, 1994), comb. n. and P. vanachterbergi Long, (nom. n. for Fornicia achterbergi Long, 2007; not F. achterbergi Yang & Chen, 2006) and one Australian species (P. commoni (Austin & Dangerfield, 1992), comb. n.). Keys to genera with similar metasomal carapace and to species of the new genus are provided. The new genus shares the curved inner middle tibial spur, the comparatively small head, the median carina of the first metasomal tergite and the metasomal carapace with Fornicia Brull√©, 1846, but has the first tergite movably joined to the second tergite and the third tergite 1.1–1.6 × as long as the second tergite medially and is flattened in lateral view. One of the included species is a primary homonym and is renamed in this paper.

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