X-ray imaging reveals hidden wasps in mineralised fly pupae. Credit: Photo: Georg Oleschinski/Rendering: Thomas van de Kamp
It sounds like something out of the “Alien” movie series, but wasps that lived in the age of the dinosaurs laid eggs in fly pupae, the wasps eat the flies from the inside to the outside.
The study, published in the scientific journal Nature, has revealed that there are four new wasp species have been found in fossil dolls that date back to the Paleogene period, about 65 million to 23 million years ago. The female wasps would lay their eggs in the fly pupae and as the wasps grew, they would the harvest of the fly’s body as the power supply.
The most common wasp has been named the Xenomorphia resurrecta, after the parasitic Xenomorph in the “Alien” movie series. The other species that were found with the name Xenomorphia handschini, Coptera anka and Palaeortona quercyensis.
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“About 50 [percent] of all animal species are considered parasites,” the study authors wrote in the abstract. “The linking of the species to a parasitic lifestyle is especially evident in the insect order hymenoptera. However, fossil evidence for host–parasitoid interactions is extremely rare, making hypotheses about the evolution of parasitism assumptive.”
The study, led by Thomas of the Camp, noted that “evidence for parasitism in the fossil record is generally rare, because it requires stored information of the interaction between the two partners.”
The only previous example of a parasitoid wasp in its preserved host was found in the Quercy region in France, and is about 34-40 million years old, the researchers wrote.
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The findings were made possible after the Camp and the other researchers looked at the dolls with X-ray scans and 3-D modeling to reconstruct what they had seen, according to LiveScience.
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