New Parasitic Wasp Species Found in Okinawa Pref.

Science Society

Tokyo, Dec. 14 (Jiji Press)--A team of researchers has discovered in the southernmost Japan prefecture of Okinawa a new parasitic wasp species that forms star-shaped cocoons.

The finding by the researchers from Japanese organizations including Kobe University was published in the online edition of Journal of Hymenoptera Research. The wasp, named Meteorus stellatus, was found on the main island of Okinawa and the island of Amami Oshima in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan. The wasp is only a few millimeters long in the adult stage.

According to Kobe University professor Kaoru Maeto, the star-shaped cocoons had previously been confirmed, but researchers had been unable to discover details about them.

The research team succeeded in recording the formation process of the cocoons on video and found that they were made by groups of Meteorus stellatus larvae.

The parasitic wasp lays eggs inside the larva of a large moth serving as the host. After the eggs hatch all at once, dozens of Meteorus stellatus larvae leave the moth's body and emit silk string from which they hang using the host leaves or branches.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press