Collembollanesque Wasp

wasp_id (1)


By Emily Hartop

At first glance, you might think the BioSCAN specimen above is a collembolan, or springtail (Wikipedia on springtails here.). As is often the case in the insect world, however, we find that truth is stranger than fiction.

The insect above is Neodusmetia sangwani, and it’s actually a flightless wasp in the family Encyrtidae. These little critters were disseminated by aircraft in 1971 as part of one of the most massively successful biological control projects of all time. Introduced from India into the Southern United States in 1964 for the control of another insect, the Rhodes grass scale, they can now be found all the way from the U.S. to Brazil.

Rhodes grass scales infect (guess what?) grasses and were a very problematic pest for both the turf and cattle industries beginning in the 1940s. Since its introduction in the 1970s, Neodusmetia sangwani has been saving those industries billions. So next time you enjoy a lawn, golf course, baseball field, steak, or hamburger… know that this little wasp has helped that happen!

Many thanks to John Noyes for supplying identification and information.


One thought on “Collembollanesque Wasp

  1. Thanks Emily. I assume that all parasitic wasps are solitary as it would be hard (and kind of pointless) to run a hive that way. Are all solitary wasps parasitic? (fig wasp???) Odd that both bees and wasps evolved into social and solitary families…because bees evolved from wasps (or visa versa)…you’d think that one of the two groups would just be one or the other (just solitary or just social). Are there any parasitic bees out there? Are there any solitary ants? Deep thoughts on a Thursday evening…


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