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Bizarre "King of Wasps" Found in Indonesia
nationalgeographic ^ | March 27, 2012 | Dave Mosher

Posted on 03/31/2012 4:27:39 AM PDT by JoeProBono

A new species of giant, venomous wasp has been found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi (map), scientists say.

The two-inch-long (five-centimeter-long) black insects are shrouded in mystery—all of the wasp specimens caught so far have been dead.

"I'm not certain any researcher has ever seen one alive, but they are very bizarre-looking," said study co-author Lynn Kimsey, an entomologist at the University of California, Davis, who co-discovered the insect.

"It's the extreme version of the [larrine wasp] subfamily they belong to."

Larrine wasps typically dig nests for their eggs and larvae in open, sandy areas. The adults grow no longer than an inch (2.5 centimeters)—making the newly discovered Megalara garuda the "king of wasps," according to the study authors.

Wasp Males' Spiky Jaws

Female M. garuda wasps look like most other wasp species, but the males grow long, sickle-shaped jaws.

The males' flattened faces and large, spiked jaws may be clever adaptations to protect a nest that contains vulnerable larvae, she suggested.

"Other wasps of the same species often rob burrows for food, and parasites try to get in there, too," she said. "There's a serious advantage to having the nest guarded. This may be how the male helps guarantee his paternity."

(See "Pictures: Wasps Turn Ladybugs Into Flailing "Zombies.")

In general, "we don't know what this wasp does," Kimsey said. "But it probably feeds its larvae grasshoppers or katydids, like other wasps in its subfamily."

"Mythical" Wasp Under Threat

Kimsey and co-author Michael Ohl, of Berlin's Humboldt University, caught their first glimpse of the new wasp in Indonesia's Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense, where the bugs had been kept in storage since 1930. Ohl also found unidentified specimens at the Humboldt Museum in Berlin.

On a 2009 expedition, the team found more wasps at a cacao plantation in the southeastern mountains of Sulawesi. In naming M. garuda, the team looked to the national symbol of Indonesia: a mythical half-human, half-bird creature in the Hindu religion called Garuda.

Although as many as a hundred thousand species of insects may live on Sulawesi, Kimsey suspects "only half have names."

But the fates of these species—including the newfound wasp—are in jeopardy. Since the 1960s forests in the region have been increasingly leveled to plant several types of crops. (Read about rain forest threats.)

"The place where we collected wasps is slated to be an open-pit nickel mine," Kimsey said.

"Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach."


TOPICS: Cheese, Moose, Sister; Chit/Chat; Pets/Animals; Science
KEYWORDS: wasp


1 posted on 03/31/2012 4:27:43 AM PDT by JoeProBono
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To: JoeProBono
A rare view of the female of the species:


2 posted on 03/31/2012 4:34:13 AM PDT by RightOnline (I am Andrew Breitbart!)
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To: JoeProBono

Holy crap! You don’t get scarier than that even in those monster Xbox games!!


3 posted on 03/31/2012 4:35:55 AM PDT by sirchtruth (Freedom is not free.)
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To: RightOnline


4 posted on 03/31/2012 4:40:42 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas gerit ;-{)
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To: JoeProBono

“The place where we collected wasps is slated to be an open-pit nickel mine,” Kimsey said.

“Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach.”

A state university operates at the expense of the state’s citizens who provide the tax revenue to keep it operating. The same goes for the nation where one goes to find large wasps. This woman is ignorant of basic economics.


5 posted on 03/31/2012 4:48:09 AM PDT by SatinDoll (No Foreign Nationals as our President!)
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To: JoeProBono
The two-inch-long (five-centimeter-long) black insects are shrouded in mystery—all of the wasp specimens caught so far have been dead.

That's because as soon as they realize they might be captured they bite down on the cyanide capsule in their mandible.

6 posted on 03/31/2012 4:55:49 AM PDT by raybbr (People who still support Obama are either a Marxist or a moron.)
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To: JoeProBono
"The fate of the species is in doubt....yadda yadda yadda...

...all of the wasp specimens caught so far have been dead.

Is there something I'm missing here?

They are all dead, right? No live ones?

Open the mine. There will be lots of nice, loose dirt for them to dig in if there are any live ones (and the dead ones weren't brought in to just stop the mine).

7 posted on 03/31/2012 5:02:08 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: sirchtruth


8 posted on 03/31/2012 5:07:44 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas gerit ;-{)
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To: JoeProBono

Tracker Jackers?


9 posted on 03/31/2012 5:14:11 AM PDT by Northern Yankee (Where Liberty dwells, there is my Country. - Benjamin Franklin)
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To: JoeProBono

“all of the wasp specimens caught so far have been dead”

Why do you have to “catch” something dead? It isn’t going anywhere.


10 posted on 03/31/2012 5:16:06 AM PDT by buridan
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To: JoeProBono

It”s a surveillance devise used by an alien intelligence. We are in danger!


11 posted on 03/31/2012 5:21:14 AM PDT by W. W. SMITH (Obama is Romney lite)
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To: W. W. SMITH

devise = device


12 posted on 03/31/2012 5:22:25 AM PDT by W. W. SMITH (Obama is Romney lite)
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To: JoeProBono

When you have wings and a flaming sword in your ass, you probably don’t need spiked mandibles to protect the nursery. More likely it’s just sexy like the intrepid, scornful jaw of a romance hero.


13 posted on 03/31/2012 5:36:41 AM PDT by Lady Lucky
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To: JoeProBono

We have an Insect Museum attached to “Butterfly World”, a big attraction in South Florida.

The Biggest, Nastiest, most scary insects all seem to come from Indonesia.

And often, the specimen carries this note:

“LOCAL PEOPLE OFTEN CONSUME THIS INSECT AS AN ALTERNATE PROTEIN SOURCE”

Perhaps the bugs are fighting back! LOL!


14 posted on 03/31/2012 5:41:54 AM PDT by left that other site
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To: JoeProBono

Yikes! It’s like the Darth Vader of wasps!


15 posted on 03/31/2012 5:47:32 AM PDT by Thorliveshere
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To: Northern Yankee

Hey - that’s my line!


16 posted on 03/31/2012 5:52:19 AM PDT by stansblugrassgrl (PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE AMMUNITION!!! YEEEEEHAW!)
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To: JoeProBono

Billy The Exterminator please pick up the courtesy phone.


17 posted on 03/31/2012 6:17:04 AM PDT by duckman (Go Newt...)
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To: Northern Yankee

LOL! I had the exact same thought as I read the headline! (I’m about 2/3 of the way through the first ‘Hunger Games’ book).


18 posted on 03/31/2012 6:22:30 AM PDT by Hoosier Catholic Momma (How long till my Arkansas drawl fades into the twang of southeast Ohio?)
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To: SatinDoll

Where does this idiot think they get the materials for the batteries in her Prius?


19 posted on 03/31/2012 6:55:38 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: left that other site
The Biggest, Nastiest, most scary insects all seem to come from Indonesia.

Liberals are going to hate you for talking about their president that way.
20 posted on 03/31/2012 7:20:19 AM PDT by adorno
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To: JoeProBono
all of the wasp specimens caught so far have been dead.

I don't think it would be too difficult or hazardous to "catch" dead wasps. On the other hand, I guess it reads better than "I saw this dead wasp on the ground and picked it up." Sort of loses the whole "Indiana Jones" exploration theme.

Mark

21 posted on 03/31/2012 8:03:04 AM PDT by MarkL (Do I really look like a guy with a plan?)
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To: JoeProBono
Awesome. We have a giant wasp in northern Japan too, that can often be found in Tokyo. They are called Sparrow Wasps or スズメバチ in Japanese. They are at least two inches long and highly venomous. A sting by one of these guys is said to be excruciatingly painful and usually requires antivenin treatment. Ive run into them on several occasions around local parks.
22 posted on 03/31/2012 8:14:45 AM PDT by lefty-lie-spy (Stay metal. For the Horde \m/("_")\m/ - via iPhone from Tokyo.)
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To: lefty-lie-spy
I have read that “secretions” (I am slightly nauseous thinking about what that may mean!) from this wasp are sold in Japan as an “energy & endurance” drink.
23 posted on 03/31/2012 8:29:20 AM PDT by Reily
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To: Reily

I’m not sure about that, but there lots of interesting edibles out here. A few years ago I ordered a can of wasp larva and and a jar of roasted grasshoppers from northern Japan. They are great rice toppings. I love eating strange food.


24 posted on 03/31/2012 8:32:58 AM PDT by lefty-lie-spy (Stay metal. For the Horde \m/("_")\m/ - via iPhone from Tokyo.)
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To: adorno

OMG! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


25 posted on 03/31/2012 9:26:01 AM PDT by left that other site
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To: lefty-lie-spy


26 posted on 03/31/2012 9:48:42 AM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas gerit ;-{)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Probably the same place the Federal Reserve gets money - out of thin air!


27 posted on 03/31/2012 4:02:11 PM PDT by SatinDoll (No Foreign Nationals as our President!)
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To: stansblugrassgrl
Ahhh... great minds think alike!

I saw a blurb on these almost a week ago and thought that maybe we're having a flash forward. Just gotta stay away from those critters.

28 posted on 04/01/2012 6:28:10 AM PDT by Northern Yankee (Where Liberty dwells, there is my Country. - Benjamin Franklin)
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To: Hoosier Catholic Momma
Finished Hunger Games last Monday, and then went to the movie on Tuesday.

Although there were a few differences in the movie, I thought it was well done.

29 posted on 04/01/2012 6:29:41 AM PDT by Northern Yankee (Where Liberty dwells, there is my Country. - Benjamin Franklin)
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