New wasp species named after Idris Elba

A new wasp has been named after the actor

Monday, November 18, 2019

A newly-discovered species of wasp has been named after the British actor and musician, Idris Elba.

The insect was detected in Guanajuato, Mexico, where it was found to parasitise the eggs of the bagrada bug - a type of stink bug which is a major pest of vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli.

Species of Idris were previously known to only parasitise spider eggs.

Scientists say the discovery of the Idris Elba wasp marks an important step towards the development of efficient and natural control of the bagrada bug in North America, as measures to halt it to date have been largely ineffective.

They were able to match the DNA of the adult wasp with DNA left behind in the eggs of the bagrada bug, and confirmed that it was an undescribed wasp species first described in 1856.

A research team from Colegio de Postgraduados (Mexico), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Florida State Collection of Arthropods (FSCA) said Idris Elba is exceptional because it demonstrates that these wasps can make the leap from parasitising the eggs of spiders to the eggs of stink bugs.

The authors said: "The physiological and developmental suitability of B. hilaris eggs for I. Elba is remarkable given the fact that the accidental host is not closely related to the hosts that are usually attacked by Idris species."

Researchers are of the opinion that the species might prove to be a "protector" for many crops.

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