Nagaland : Researchers Discover New Species Of ‘Parasitic Wasp’ From Phek

 

  • NET Web Desk

A team of researchers from Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Plant Health Diagnostic National Reference Laboratory, and University of Barcelona have recently discovered a new species of parasitic wasp from Phek district, Nagaland.

The researchers comprising of Ranjith, AP., Dr Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan from the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Karnataka; Dr George Melika from the Plant Health Diagnostic National Reference Laboratory, Hungary; and Dr Irene Lobato-Villa and Dr Juli Pujade-Villar from the University of Barcelona, Spain uncovered the species at an elevation of 1500 meters above sea level.

It has been discovered during a field expedition conducted as part of an ongoing project on ‘insect bio resources of Northeast India’ funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.

Scientifically named as ‘Lithosaphonecrusnagalandi’ after the northeastern state of Nagaland, the species are termed to be associated with bud galls of a beech tree, Lithocarpus.

Its worth mentioning that galls are abnormal growths, which appear in leaves, stems, flower, fruit and roots of the plants.

Considered as the best model system to study insect-plant interactions, galls control plant growth and help them produce a safe home and food for the gall inducer or the insects dependent on these galls for their nutrition.

According to a press release, Lithosaphonecrusare belong to the very diverse gall inducing hymenopteran family, Cynipidae.

Cynipids are dominant insects that make galls in oak trees, a fauna which is completely unexplored in India.

The concerned parasitic wasp is first report of the genus Lithosaphonecrus from India, adds the release.

“This discovery throws light on to the needs of species inventory studies and insect plant interactions particularly on gall insect communities,” it noted.