Thursday 16 November 2023

Malevolent Designer News - 16 More Nasties For Devotees of the Divine Sadist To Enjoy

Male wasp of the Loboscelidia genus, a relative of the 16 newly-described Vietnamese species or endoparasitic wasps.
16 strange new parasitoid wasp species discovered in Vietnam | Research Results | KYUSHU UNIVERSITY

Creationist devotees of the divine sadist whom they believe creates all the parasites that increase the suffering in the world, will be thrilled to learn that 16 more endoparasitic wasps have been discovered.

These are all endoparasitic on other insects and lay their eggs inside their victims' eggs where their grubs can then consume the growing embryo. Their strange appearance is thought to be because they have evolved from a myrmecophilous species that mimicked the appearance or ants.

All these were discovered in Vietnam by entomologists from Kyushu University, Japan, and Vietnam’s National Museum of Nature. Their discovery is described in a Kyushu University news release:
Researchers at Kyushu University and Vietnam’s National Museum of Nature have discovered 16 new species of C, a strange-looking and elusive group of parasitoid wasps. The scientists also reported for the first time the unique parasitic behavior of a captive female of one species, Loboscelidia squamosa, who was observed digging a hole in the soil to hide her host’s egg.

The findings were published in the European Journal of Taxonomy.

While we are more familiar with hunting wasps like yellowjackets, with their dramatic black and yellow stripes and painful stings, parasitoid wasps make up the vast majority of wasp species. They are often tiny (Loboscelidia wasps are between 2-5 mm in body length, smaller than a pencil-top eraser) and while unnoticed by humans, they play a crucial role in regulating the ecosystem.

Parasitoid wasps act as a parasite of other insects. They lay their eggs in or on the bodies or eggs of their host, ultimately killing them.

The Loboscelidia wasps were thought to be rare group with a small number of species, but with one stroke, we have increased the number of species by 30%.

Assistant Professor Toshiharu Mita, lead author
Entomological Laboratory
Faculty of Agriculture
Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.
Despite their ecological importance, very little is known about many groups of parasitoid wasps, including Loboscelidia. Prior research into the group has suggested that they parasitize the eggs of stick insects, also known as walking sticks.

Loboscelidia was first discovered around 150 years ago, but we still lack important knowledge about their biology. This study was the first time we were able to observe their parasitic behavior.

As each species is only found in a small area, any disruption to their habitat could result in the loss of that species forever.

Dr. Yu Hisasue, first author
Entomological Laboratory
Graduate School of Bioresource and Bioenvironmental Sciences
Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.
Mita and Hisasue, along with their colleague, Dr. Thai-Hong Pham of the National Museum of Nature, Vietnam, conducted field surveys at six sites across Vietnam, setting traps and using nets to capture the tiny parasitoid wasps.

On one occasion, they trapped a living female from one of the newly described species, Loboscelidia squamosa. They released her into a plastic container containing soil and placed a stick insect egg inside. The female wasp punctured the egg, laid her own egg inside and then searched for a location to bury the parasitized egg. She used her head to dig a hole, placed the host egg inside and plugged the entrance with soil.

This parasitic behavior is very developed, and similar to the nest building behavior seen in solitary hunting wasps. The researchers therefore believe that further research could help shed light on how these behaviors evolved in other wasps. It could also help explain the unique specialized head structure of Loboscelidia wasps, which could be useful for digging holes in the soil.

By the end of the field survey, the scientists had collected 70 individuals from the Loboscelidia group, taking high-resolution close-up photos of each wasp. One unusual feature of the wasps was the presence of hairs at the back of their head and on their body, with the arrangement and density of body hairs differing between each species.
In total, the scientists identified 16 new species, bringing the known number of species worldwide up to 67.

Importantly, each species was typically found in a very limited area, usually only at one collection site. This makes it likely that the group has many more species that still could be discovered with further field surveys. However, it also highlights the vulnerability of each species.
Figure. 2.A series of photos captures the moment a captive female wasp from the species Loboscelidia squamosa lays her egg inside a stick insect egg before carrying and burying it in the soil. This marks the first time that this parasitic behavior has been observed.
Credit: Yu Hisasue, Kyushu University
More technical detail can be found in the team's open access paper in European Journal of Taxonomy:

The taxonomy of Loboscelidiinae in Vietnam is revised, with 16 new species being described: Loboscelidia bachmaensis sp. nov., L. barbata sp. nov., L. cilia sp. nov., L. convexa sp. nov., L. cucphuongensis sp. nov., L. cuneata sp. nov., L. do sp. nov., L. flavipes sp. nov., L. glabra sp. nov., L. komedai sp. nov., L. mediata sp. nov., L. parallela sp. nov., L. piriformis sp. nov., L. squamosa sp. nov., L. vang sp. nov. and L. vietnamensis sp. nov. In total, 24 species of Loboscelidia are recognized in the fauna of Vietnam. Keys to Indo-Chinese male and world female of Loboscelidia are provided. A brief observation of the foraging behavior of L. squamosa sp. nov. is also reported. Host-carriage and subsequent host egg burying are considered primary nesting behaviors of solitary wasps.


Loboscelidiinae Ashmead, 1903 are rare and morphologically peculiar wasps in the family Chrysididae Latreille, 1802. The subfamily contains two genera; Loboscelidia Westwood, 1874 and Rhadinoscelidia Kimsey, 1988. The genus Loboscelidia is found in the Oriental and Australian Regions, and 51 species have been described until date (Yao et al. 2010; Kimsey 2012; Li & Xu 2017). They are characterized by a number of unusual morphological features; e.g., the vertex is prolonged posteriorly into a neck-like projection fringed with ribbon-like setae, and the tegula is very large, covering both wing bases (Kimsey 2012). Loboscelidia can be distinguished from Rhadinoscelidia by the forewing venation extending into the basal one-third to one-half of the wing (considerably less than the one-fourth in Rhadinoscelidia), the vertex being convex or flat behind the ocelli (sharply declivitous in Rhadinoscelidia), ribbon-like setae on the gena, and the cervical expansion being unseparated (absent and separated in Rhadinoscelidia) (Kimsey & Bohart 1991; Kimsey 2018).

The biology of the genus is poorly known; however, some studies have suggested that they are egg parasitoids of stick insects (Phasmida), such as the Amiseginae Mocsáry, 1890 subfamily (Hadlington & Hoschke 1959; Heather 1965). Many studies have considered that their strange morphology implies their myrmecophily (Fouts 1922; Riek 1970; Krombein 1983). The discovery of Rhadinoscelidia lixa Hisasue & Mita, 2020 at the nest entrance of an ant species, Carebara diversa (Jerdon, 1851) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), supports this idea (Hisasue & Mita 2020). In addition, some characteristics, such as frontal projection, ribbon-like setae, and other setae specialization, can be compared to those of other parasitic wasps in the cryptic habitat.

In Vietnam, eight species have been recorded in previous studies (Maa & Yoshimoto 1961; Kimsey 1988, 2012). This number is small compared to that in relatively well-studied areas, such as Thailand and China (Kimsey 2012), but, as Kimsey (2012) mentioned, this may be due to their limited collections and study area. In this paper, we describe 16 new species from Vietnam and provide keys to males of Indo-Chinese species of Loboscelidia and to females of world species. In addition, we briefly discuss their morphological diversity and foraging behavior.

Creationists hold two diametrically opposite and mutually exclusive views simultaneously of parasites like these endoparasitic wasps. On the one hand, they claim all complex species must have been intelligently designed and the only entity capable if intelligently designing anything is the god of the Bible or Qur'an; on the other hand, they blame something called 'Sin' for the suffering these parasites cause and blame their mythical founding couple, Adam & Eve for committing the 'Original Sin' and allowing sin to enter the world. The problem there is that 'sin' in that context is a verb, yet to be a creative entity it should be a noun, so it's never clear how and where this transformation occurred, nor is it clear why their supposedly omnipotent creator god is powerless over this 'Sin' thing.

And whatever it is, with about 1 million species of parasitic wasp, all the pathological bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and worms, as well as thousands of other arthropod families like fleas, lice, mites and ticks, with every species having several parasites living in and on it, it must have been incredibly busy, and a pair of each must have been allowed on the Ark for some reason, if we believe the creationist myth of a global genocidal flood!

But, whatever their excuse, they now have 16 more, newly-discovered examples of these nasties to perform their mental gymnastics over.

Thank you for sharing!

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