May 19, 2024

Entomologists discover a long-extinct wasp | Sciences

Entomologists have discovered a previously unknown species of wasp in 100 million-year-old amber. “It is a long-awaited piece of the puzzle that helps us understand the phylogeny of this group of wasps, which are now widespread in almost all parts of the world,” explained Volker Lohrmann, of the Obersee Museum Bremen, who describes the wasp in the journal Insects. “. “With his French colleagues.” Today’s relatives can be found all over the world, on all continents except Antarctica. We also have so-called flat wasps, some of which are used as beneficial insects for biological pest control.

A private collector from Lower Saxony has discovered amber from the Cretaceous period in northern Myanmar and made it available for research. “Examining a small piece of amber is relatively complicated because you need high-resolution microscopes,” Lohrmann said. But because amber is often transparent, fossils can be examined from all sides using an optical microscope. “To find out what kind of wasp it was, we then compare the fossil to the scientific literature. We have to find out: Is this a really new insect or have we known about it for years?”

According to their own information, scientists determined that it was a species of wasp of a previously unknown genus. The fossil of the species Hukawngepyris setosus is twice as old as the oldest representatives of flat wasps to date.

Researchers do not know where the hornet was widespread at that time and when and why it became extinct. “Actually, we can’t say anything about that because this discovery is an isolated discovery,” Lohrmann said. But the fossil helps get an impression of what the world looked like about 100 million years ago. “For science, amber is a unique window into the past.”

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