Scientists have discovered a new wasp species in the Amazon rain forests of Peru.
According to a newly published study in ZooKeys Journal, the discovery was made at the Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve by scientists from the University of Turku in Finland who have researched biodiversity in the area for over 20 years.
The new wasp genus called amazonica Capitojoppa is one of several species unknown to science which were discovered in what is often described as the most biodiverse rainforest on Earth, said Brandon Claridge from Utah State University in a news release. Claridge also adds that more newly discovered species will be described in future studies. He also states that wasps belonging to the subfamily Ichneumoninae are usually large and colorful, “especially in the tropics,” and each genus’ name often describes the species’ characteristics or range.
“The wasps of the (Capitojoppa) genus have a large head, which is reflected in the capito part of the name,” Claridge explained. “The joppa part of the name refers to the wasp genus Joppa that the Capitojoppa resembles."
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Exploring the Amazon rainforest: How many countries does it include? How big is it?
The Amazon is shared by eight countries — Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname — as well as the overseas territory of French Guiana, making it the world’s largest tropical rainforest, according to the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). The Amazon Biome is twice the size of India — spanning 1.6 billion acres — and encompasses a variety of cultures, landscapes and ecosystems, including rainforests, floodplain forests, savanna and rivers, according to WWF.
According to Audubon, the Peruvian Amazon encompasses almost 60 percent of the country and is second only to the Brazilian Amazon in size.
The Amazon rainforest is home to far more species of birds and more species per unit area than any other biome on Earth, and the Allpahuayo-Mishana is a part of it that has an “unprecedented abundance of species,” study co-author Ilari Sääksjärvi — a Professor of Biodiversity Research at the University of Turku, said in the release.
The wonder and diversity of the Amazon rainforest
A 2017 World Wide Fund For Nature and Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development report found that a new animal or plant species is discovered in the Amazon every two days. The report states that this is “the fastest rate to be observed this century.”
“Due to the region's complex geological history, there are several different types of rainforest growing in the Reserve,” Sääksjärvi said.
American botanist Alwyn Gentry first flung Allpahuyao-Mishana into the spotlight in the late 1980s after documenting the highest number of tree species at a single locality known to date, according to the news release. In recent decades, scientists have also discovered several new bird species from the region.
While the biodiversity hotspot has gained prominence in the scientific community and is recognized for its critical role in maintaining climate function globally, the land and all inhabitants have undergone significant changes due to humans, according to Sääksjärvi. Sääksjärvi says they hope these insect studies will provide further insight on how climate change alters the rainforest.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Scientists discover new wasp species in the Amazon rainforest