By – The braconid family, to which the tribe Heterospilini belongs, is a large and diverse group of parasitoid wasps. There are about 17,000 recognized wasp species and many thousands more undescribed.

Most braconid wasps are internal and external parasitoids on other insects, especially upon the larval stages of beetles, flies and moths.

Parasitoid wasps often present some of the most extraordinary and morbid techniques to ensure larval survival within the host.

Some harbor and introduce into the host specific viruses for compromising host immune defenses.

The DNA of the wasp actually contains portions that are the templates for the components of the viral particles and they are assembled in an organ in the female’s abdomen known as the calyx.

Members of two subfamilies, Mesostoinae and Doryctinae, to which the tribe described belongs, are known to form galls on plants.

This image shows a female of one of the newly described Heterospilus species. Image credit: Alexander Wild.

“We estimate that perhaps another 50-100 species could be added to the total to contribute to the astonishing biodiversity of Costa Rica,” said Dr Paul Marsh, who is a lead author of the paper published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

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