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.