New wasp species discovery on green roof


The newly discovered wasp species Diasta dichrocera. Photo: Kees van Achterberg

Translated from Dutch Vroege Vogels radio, 14 April 2019:

Student discovers new wasp species

An investigation into insects on green roofs unexpectedly found a new species for the Netherlands in Rotterdam, in the roof garden of Erasmus Medical Center: a Braconidae family wasp species. The tiny wasp is called Idiasta dichrocera, and does not yet have a Dutch name.

There is a proposal to call it Erasmus wasp.

To find out whether green roofs actually contribute to biodiversity, the Natural History Museum Rotterdam is researching which plants and animals are found there. Particular attention has been paid to the insects that can be found. The first results are starting to show.

Eva Drukker, a master’s student at Wageningen University, did the fieldwork. She has placed insect traps on various green roofs and roof gardens throughout the Netherlands. These samples must show which factors make a green roof a success for insects and other small animals.

It is a coincidence that the new roof garden of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the neighbours of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, produced the special find. There, Eva found a little insect that was unknown to her: a small wasp-like creature that at first sight looks more like an ant than a wasp. Thanks to expert Kees van Achterberg, the animal could be named.

Idiasta dichrocera is only 4 millimeters in size. It had never found in the Netherlands before. It was in other European and Asian countries, including Germany, Sweden, Russia and China. Almost nothing is known about its way of life. It is suspected that the wasp is a parasite of fly larvae. Just what the wasp was looking for on the hospital roof is a mystery.

The wasp is included in the collection of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam under collection number NMR 9970-137370. Enthusiasts are welcome to come and admire the insect. A loupe is recommended.

Eva Drukker, discoverer of the new wasp species

This wasp was a female. Also other interesting insect species were discovered during the research.

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