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Apanteles samarshalli Fernandez-Triana, 2010 is a very amazing, truly unique and derived species within the large genus Apanteles (which includes over 1,000 described species and many thousand undescribed species). Its morphology is so bizarre that it makes it one of the few species easily distinguishable in North America. It might even become a new genus on its own in the future -when a more complete phylogenetic study of the Microgastrinae subfamily is done.

At present nothing is known of its biology (i.e. the caterpillars that it attacks). Most of the specimens have been collected in hammock forests, and most of the known localities share in common the presence of oaks trees (genus Quercus). Type locality: United States, Florida, Monroe County, Key Largo, 25°5'11.4"N, 80°26'50.28"W. Distribution: United States: Florida, Monroe and Highlands Counties (Key Largo, Fat Deer Key, Everglades National Park, Archbold Biological Station); Canada: Ontario: Rondeau Provincial Park. Diagnosis: Thus far this is the only Nearctic species of Apanteles with a significantly short antenna (half the body length); vein 2M very short, almost obliterating with vein 2RS; and antenna with yellow scape/pedicel and brown flagellomere. The combination of those characters makes Apanteles samarshalli one of the most distinctive and recognizable species within the genus.

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© Jose Fernandez-Triana

Source: Braconid wasps, caterpillars and biocontrol

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