Tuesday, April 3, 2012

[Insect • 2012] Megalara garuda | Garuda Wasp, Sulawesi Giant Wasp • a new genus and species of larrine wasps from Indonesia (Larrinae, Crabronidae, Hymenoptera)

Garuda has been interpreted in Indonesia as a god or eagle, fighting serpents. It's not known what this Garuda preys upon, but it looks capable of mighty deeds; Above is a male Megalara garuda, also known as the King of Wasps 
Credit: Dr. Lynn Kimsey, Dr. Michael Ohl

Megalara garuda Kimsey & Ohl, gen. et sp. n.

A new genus and species, Megalara garuda is described from Sulawesi (Indonesia). The new species is one the largest known members of the crabronid subfamily Larrinae. It has a unique suite of putatively apomorphic morphological characters and is most closely related to the genus Paraliris. We found indications of a significant allometric variation in body size and mandibular length and shape in male Megalara, and the presence of acarinaria at least in females of the new genus. Allometric variation and acarinaria have previously been shown to occur in Paraliris, which is another indication for a close relationship of Megalara and Paraliris.

Etymology. The new genus name is an arbitrary combination of Mega-, deriving from the Greek megas, meaning large and mighty, and –lara, the last syllable of Dalara. It is an allusion both to the exaggerated body size of the new genus and its overall similarity to Dalara.
Etymology. Because of the spectacular appearance of the major male of this species, it is named after the “Garuda”, the national symbol of Indonesia; a mythical bird-like, warrior creature.

(Megalara Garuda) The male (3), with its frightening jaws, and the smaller female (4) differ; 
Credit: Dr. Lynn Kimsey, Dr. Michael Ohl

Kimsey, L. and Ohl, M. 2012. Megalara garuda, a new genus and species of larrine wasps from Indonesia (Larrinae, Crabronidae, Hymenoptera). ZooKeys 177: 49. doi:10.3897/zookeys.177.2475.

Meet the just discovered 'Komodo dragon' of wasps: 
Meet the wasp king - Megalara garuda