Two new beautiful wasp species of the rare genus Abernessia

November 25, 2013
This image shows the gorgeous black new wasp species Abernessia capixaba. Credit: Felipe B. Fraga/Cecilia Waichert

Two new beautiful wasp species are added to the rare pompilid genus Abernessia, which now contains a total of only four known species. The two new species A. prima and A. capixaba are believed to be endemic for Brazil alongside the rest of the representatives of the genus. Both wasps are distinguished by the large size (almost 3cm in length) and the beautiful black color with metallic shine typical for the family. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

The enigmatic genus Abernessia is part of the spider wasp family Pompilidae. Spider take their name from the preference of the representatives to parasitize spiders. The females paralyze the prey by stinging it, which is then put in a specifically built nest. The female then lays a single egg on the abdomen of the spider and bury it carefully marking any signs that might give away the nest.

Interestingly it is believed to have a connection between the sizes of prey and size of the offspring of the wasps, the lager wasps are believed to appear from nests containing larger prey.

This image shows a female of Abernessia giga, a species that took its name from the impressively large size of the specimen. Credit: Cecilia Waichert

"There is a positive correlation between size of the preyed and size of the wasp produced in the next generation." comments Dr. Waichert, Utah State University.

Explore further: Megalara garuda: the King of Wasps

More information: Waichert C, Pitts JP (2013) Two new species of Abernessia Arlé (Pompilidae, Ctenocerinae). ZooKeys 353: 77. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.353.6223

Related Stories

Aussie wasp on the hunt for redback spiders

September 11, 2012

(—University of Adelaide researchers say a small native wasp that scientists had forgotten about for more than 200 years is now making a name for itself - as a predator of Australia's most common dangerous spider, ...

Three new wafer trapdoor spiders from Brazil

November 20, 2013

Scientists discover three new gorgeous species of the wafer trapdoor genus Fufius – F. minusculus, F. jalapensis, and F. candango. The discovery of the three new species, published in the open access journal ZooKeys, paves ...

Recommended for you

ZomBee Watch helps scientists track honeybee killer

October 9, 2015

While scientists have documented cases of tiny flies infesting honeybees, causing the bees to lurch and stagger around like zombies before they die, researchers don't know the scope of the problem.

Gene editing: Research spurs debate over promise vs. ethics

October 9, 2015

The hottest tool in biology has scientists using words like revolutionary as they describe the long-term potential: wiping out certain mosquitoes that carry malaria, treating genetic diseases like sickle-cell, preventing ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.