Neuroterus valhalla: New Wasp species
The Rice University researchers recently discovered a new wasp species called Neuroterus Valhalla. It is a weird species that spends 11 months of a year locked in a crypt. It is just a millimetre long.
It was discovered outside a student pub Valhalla. And thus named after it. The species was collected from a oak tree in 2018. The scientists are yet to find the male member of the species. The females lay eggs in trees. It is a cynipid gall wasp. It uses chemicals to produce crypts or galls around its eggs. Around 1,300 gall wasps are known to human. They are distributed in Europe and North America. The reproduction of gall wasps is partly parthenogenesis. Parthenogenesis is asexual reproduction where growth and reproduction occur without the fertilization of sperm.
About the Crypt
The females of the N.valhalla lay a chemical substance along with the eggs. This chemical substance coax (arrange itself into something) with the tree to form the crypt or gall. The gall provides shelter to the egg.
Life in the gall
The wasp almost spends its entire lifetime in the gall. After emerging from the gall, the wasp lives only for three or four days. They mate within these four days, lay eggs. They don’t and do nothing. Their only purpose is reproduction.
About the eggs
The N.valhalla wasp lays eggs twice a year. Also, only alternating generations lay eggs. These wasps lay eggs on flowers. Some trees flower only once a year. In such cases, they lay their eggs on the new stem buds. When they hatch and come out in the wrong time and if there are no flowers (or suitable places to lay eggs), they just die.
So far, these wasps have been found in oak trees. They are spread in the US and in Mexico. Climate change and deforestation is threatening the species.
Category: Environment Current Affairs