New wasp species discovered near museum

Rhysipolis mediator wasp species

From Naturalis museum in the Netherlands:

During intensive research on the grounds surrounding Naturalis, a braconid wasp species, new to science, has been discovered. The way of life of this still undescribed Rhysipolis species is not yet known. Probably, this wasp is a parasite of small butterflies’ caterpillars, like closely related species.

This new wasp is one of the 1402 species which have been counted on the Naturalis grounds as part of the 33.3 year jubilee of the Stichting European Invertebrate Survey (EIS).

Braconid wasps are parasites, laying their eggs in other insects’ larvae. Most species are just a few millimeter in size. During the research, another ten braconid species, new for the Netherlands, have been discovered. In the Netherlands, 640 species were already known; now, that is 650. Earlier on, a springtail species had been found for the first time ever in the Netherlands. Also, a fruit fly, unknown in the Netherlands until now, has been found.

70% of the 1402 species on the Naturalis grounds are invertebrate animals. Most of these are insects (almost 800 species). There are also about 300 plant species on the list and 77 vertebrates. It is special that so many species have been found on relatively small and urban grounds. This is because scores of specialist scientists have investigated the grounds extensively.

See also here.

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