A new genus and species of parasitoid wasp has been discovered by a team of researchers at the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Kolkata, a significant find after nearly two decades.

Named Indopria, with ‘Indo’ representing India and ‘pria’ from Latin meaning ‘little wasp’, says P.V. Theertha, a native of Kannur and senior research fellow at ZSI, Kolkata.

The species was discovered during India’s 75th Independence Day celebrations, hence the inclusion of ‘Indo to signify the country and the species name ‘angulata’ (Latin) refers to the specialised characteristic of its wings, she says.

Ms. Theertha says Indopria is classified within the tribe Diapriini, identified through an integrative taxonomic approach combining morphological data and high genetic divergence within the tribe.

Unique features such as a semi-abrupt 3-segmented clava, paddle-shaped forewings with angular frenal gutters, and elongated marginal fringes differentiate Indopria from related genera. Notably, its specialised wing morphology suggests an adaptation to aquatic habitats.

Diapriid wasps, including this newfound species, play a crucial role in in maintaining ecological balance and stability by laying eggs in the larva or pupa of different flies and eventually leading to their death.

India boasts over a hundred diapriid wasp species, with initial research indicating the distribution of Indopria angulata in Odisha, West Bengal, and the Andaman islands. Molecular studies support its presence in aquatic environments across East India and the Andaman Islands, highlighting its potential significance in these ecosystems.

The discovery is the result of collaborative efforts led by Ms. Theertha along with senior scientist K. Rajmohana with the support K.P. Dinesh from ZSI, Pune, Sunita Patra from ZSI, Kolkata, and A. Shabnam from ZSI, Pune.

The discovery has been published in the scientific journal Biologia. The research was supported by the University Grants Commission’s Junior Research Fellowship.

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