A brand new species - and it's a local!

It’s quite common to find an insect you don’t recognise, but to find one new to science is quite a buzz.

Paul Whitington lives locally, and his recent discovery is going to be named in recognition:

Cotesia wonboynensis (The Wonboyn Wasp)

The Wonboyn Wasp story is a great example of how interested naturalists make important contributions to scientific knowledge. It is an inspiration for all of us to record and document our nature observations.

Paul was in luck when he contacted a researcher who specialises on this family of tiny wasps. Dr. Erinn Fagan-Jeffries (Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Adelaide) is currently working on the exact group, the ‘genus’, to which Paul’s new wasp belongs. She was able to confirm it as an undescribed wasp and is soon to publish it as a newly-named species. That will make it official!

Read how Paul made this discovery. It’s quite an adventure, and just a little bit gruesome. He has written Uncovering Hidden Wasps for the Atlas of Life website’s Occasional Papers series.

Paul’s discovery has certainly captured people’s imagination. Here’s an update from his home webpage blog yesterday:

“Seems my new little wasp has captured people’s imagination! This morning Simon Lauder from ABC Radio South East interviewed both myself and Dr. Erinn Fagan-Jeffries about my discovery of this new species of wasp. During her interview, Erinn confirmed that she will use my suggestion of a name for the new species - Cotesia wonboynensis - “The wasp from Wonboyn” … or the Wonboyn Wasp, as Simon called it!

ABC Radio South East (my interview runs from 00:40:21 to 00:53:45, Erinn’s from 03:08:11 to 03:14:55)

Then in the afternoon, I was interviewed by Paula Kruger from ABC Radio Canberra.

ABC Radio Canberra (my bit runs from 1:34:40 to 1:48:44)”