Detailed Images Aid Studies of Beneficial Wasps

At ARS News

By Jan Suszkiw

Using specialized digital photography methods, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are producing high-resolution images of members of the wasp superfamily Platygastroidea.

Of particular interest is using the images to improve the identification and taxonomic description of one- to two-millimeter-long Trissolcus wasp species that parasitize stink bugs and could have potential as biological control agents. The wasps’ larvae hatch and feed inside the bug’s eggs, killing them in the process. Some species attack the eggs of the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), an invasive pest from Asia that’s become established in 39 U.S. states and, in 2010, inflicted $37 million in damage to corn, soybeans, grapes and other crops.

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