Newly discovered wasp has monster stinger

Christopher Davidson
July 12, 2018

The creature, which was discovered by researchers from Finland's University of Turku, has all the classic features of a wasp; a narrow body equipped with long, thin wings, and a head covered with two huge compound eyes.

"Parasitoid" wasp stingers have a dual objective. You probably don't need any more reasons to dislike them, but just in case you do, scientists just discovered a new wasp species in the Amazon that looks like it was designed specifically to evoke fear and disdain in equal measure.

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 awful "weapon", particularly given the fact that wasps, unlike bees, can sting multiple times without dying. The researchers say that these new species could be parasitoid wasps, which lay their eggs near a host, which the larvae then feeds on and, eventually, kills.

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The report said the wasp's stinger could be used multiple times in its lifetime and wasps like the newly discovered one-a parasitoid wasp-use their stingers to paralyze spiders. Then, these puzzling parasitic wasps lay their eggs on the spiders. The hatching larvae feed on the paralysed 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 objective", explained Professor Saaksjarvi.

The wasp, which scientists named Clistopyga crassicaudata, boasts a stinger that is both longer and wider than those seen on most wasps.

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