i5K: Parasitic wood wasp
Parasitic Wood Wasp (Orussus abietinus)
Parasitic Wood Wasp
Photo by Oliver Niehius
Contact: Oliver Niehuis
Size (or size of nearest relative):
Keywords (and why important):
Representative of the wasp (Hymenoptera) family Orussidae: the parasitic wood wasp Orussus abietinus parasitizes wood-boring beetle larvae and exhibits numerous remarkable characteristics, such as an ovipositor that internally loops through the abdomen and thorax and eggs longer than the body size of the adult female.
What makes parasitic wood wasps even more interesting, however, is the fact that they are the only lineage of parasitic wasps that primarily do not possess a wasp waist. In fact, orussids are thought to be the sister lineage of the tremendously successful and species rich Apocrita. The latter include all primarily parasitic wasps with wasp waist and all ants and bees.
Orussids are critical for understanding the evolution of a parasitoid life history and the associated adaptations at the genomic level.