Comprehensive Description


Holotype, ♀, length of body 2.0 mm, of fore wing 1.4 mm.  Head. Length of third segment of antenna 0.5 times fourth segment, length of third, fourth and penultimate segments 0.5, 0.8 and 1.0 times their width, respectively, and basal segments with distinct setae; pedicellus distinctly protruding and larger than scapus; face strongly convex and densely setose (Fig. 9), without facial tubercles and bristles; length of eye 2.4 times temple in dorsal view; height of eye about 3.6 times width of temple in lateral view (Fig. 9); vertex superficially granulate and having a satin sheen; temples roundly narrowed behind eyes; OOL:diameter of ocellus:POL = 5:4:20; length of malar space 0.05 times height of eye, eye nearly touching base of mandible.   Mesosoma. Length of mesosoma 1.1 times its height; mesoscutum evenly granulate; scutellum granulate and distinctly convex; precoxal sulcus absent; mesopleuron superficially granulate, but speculum shiny and largely smooth; mesosternal sulcus narrow and micro-crenulate; metanotum without a median carina and longer than dorsal face of propodeum; propodeum finely rugulose, dorsal face much shorter than posterior face, with satin sheen, without a median carina and no medial areola and its spiracle small and far in front of middle of propodeum.   Wings. Fore wing: parastigma comparatively large (Fig. 8); vein SR distinctly pigmented; basal half of wing much less densely setose than its distal half. Hind wing: wing membrane sparsely setose basally.   Legs. Hind coxa partly superficially micro-granulate, nearly smooth and with satin sheen; fore coxa nearly flat ventrally; all tarsal claws slender and simple; length of femur, tibia and basitarsus of hind leg 2.9, 4.5 and 4.0 times their width, respectively; fore femur moderately curved in dorsal view, compressed and apically without tooth; fore tibia without protuberances and evenly densely setose, its length 6.3 times its maximum width in lateral view; fore tarsus 1.9 times as long as middle tarsus and 1.6 times as long as fore tibia; fore tibial spur slightly curved and 0.7 times as long as fore basitarsus and 0.4 times fore tibia (Fig. 12); spurs of hind tibia acute apically, their length 1.1 and 1.0 times hind basitarsus.   Metasoma. Length of first tergite 0.6 times its apical width, its surface with satin sheen, granulate, basally and medially flat, and its spiracles not protruding and near apex of tergite; second and third tergites superficially granulate; second metasomal suture obsolescent; remainder of metasoma largely smooth and depressed; fifth sternite with a large and acute apical spine (Fig. 14); setae of metasoma spread and short; second tergite with sharp lateral crease; length of ovipositor sheath 0.05 times fore wing.   Colour. Black; face, clypeus, labrum, malar space, frons antero-laterally and medially, palpi, propleuron, tegula, wings basally, fore and middle legs white; scapus and pedicellus, and hind leg ivory, but hind tarsus dorsally infuscate; pronotal side with brown patch; veins brown; remainder of antenna, humeral plate largely, metasoma laterally, parastigma and pterostigma largely dark brown; wing membrane subhyaline.  Variation. Length of body 1.8–2.1 mm, of fore wing 1.1–1.4 mm, all females have 12 antennal segments; pronotal side may be largely brown.
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© José-María Gómez Durán, Cornelis van Achterberg

Source: ZooKeys


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Kollasmosoma sentum

Kollasmosoma sentum is a parasitoid wasp, from the family Braconidae, which lays its eggs inside living ants. It was featured as one of "the top 10 new species of 2012" in a list compiled by Conservationists at the Arizona State University International Institute for Species Exploration.[2][3][4][5][6]


Kollasmosoma sentum is a palearctic species.[1] The first male of Kollasmosoma sentum was discovered in Orgiva in the province of Granada in Spain. The female holotype was discovered later in August 2010 in Madrid, at the site of the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria followed by the collection of another seven females in September 2010.[1]


K. sentum has a length of 1.8 to 2.1 millimetres (0.071 to 0.083 in) with forewing length from 1.1 to 1.4 millimetres (0.043 to 0.055 in). The antennae of all females have 12 segments. The face is convex and the head is bristly.[1]

While the body of K. sentum is black in colour, and the rest of it is mostly white, namely its face, face plate (clypeus), labrum, malar space (area between the compound eyes and the mandibles), frons (antero-lateral and medial), palps , propleuron, tegulae , basal area of the wing and the front and center legs.[1]

The scape and pedicel of the antenna, and the tarsi of the hind legs are ivory coloured, the tarsi dorsally obscured. The sides of the pronotum have a brown spot laterally; in some individuals the pronotum may be colored brown also extended to the sides. The veins of the nearly transparent wings are brown, the remaining antenna segments, large parts of the humeral plate, the sides of the mesosoma , the parastigma and the pterostigma are colored extended dark brown. The mesosoma is about 10% longer than its height. The first tergite of the metasoma is 0.6 times as long as the width of the apex.[1]

K. sentum can be differentiated from other species of the genus by the following characteristics:[1]

  • The outer spine of the tibiae of the hind legs is normally built in females and apically pointed;
  • the fifth sternite of the metasoma in females has an apical spine;
  • the face is strongly convex;
  • the compound eyes are about 3.6 times higher than the temple's width;
  • The dorsal side of the propodeum is shorter than the metanotum;
  • the pedicel is distinctly pronounced in females; and
  • the tarsi of the front legs in the females are 1.9 times as long as the tarsi of the middle legs.


Parasitoidy of the ant Cataglyphis ibericus (Emery, 1906) by Kollasmosoma sentum has been recorded. Female Kollasmosoma wasps, flying singly or in a small group of two to three, scout the entrances of nests of Cataglyphis and areas nearby, during the hottest hours of the day, looking for worker ants on their way out to forage or on the return, laden with food for the nest. These expeditions typically last from half an hour to 90 minutes. Cataglyphis ants move speedily along but have a characteristic pattern of brief halts which are used by the Kollasmosoma for oviposition into the body of the ants.[1]

Cataglyphis ants are wary of these minute parasitoid wasps and, when detected, fend them off using mandibles or with the middle and rear pairs of legs as the wasps appear from the rear. On their part, Kollasmosoma wasps fly rapidly and approach from behind. Cataglyphis ants typically hold their metasoma at an angle which ranges from the horizontal to vertically upward, the latter position being characteristic for the genus. The wasps oviposit on the dorsal or ventral surface of the metasoma, and rarely on the abdominal apex, manoeuvring their body so that the ovipositor thrusts along the posterior-anterior axis of the ant body, a behaviour which suggests that the wasp aims to pierce through the intersegmental membranes.[1]

The oviposition of Cataglyphis ant bodies by female Kollasmosoma wasps is done with great speed, with the complete cycle, comprising first contact, grasping of the ant, and insertion of egg into the metasoma, followed by flight, lasting for an average duration of 0.052 seconds only.[A] [B] [7][8]

Popular Science claims it is one of the most efficient of insect "assassins."[2] One observer notes that these wasps may account for ants' "nervous behavior."[6]

Once they hatch, how the newly natal wasps survive in the ant colony is still a mystery.[8]



  1. ^ "The whole oviposition behaviour of Kollasmosoma sentum sp. n. (comprising the grasping of the ant by the wasp and the insertion of the ovipositor, until flight; ... lasted a mean of 0.052 seconds (95% confidence interval:...), with a median of 0.050 seconds (interquartile range: 0.047–0.057)." [1]
  2. ^ All this takes "less than a twentieth of a second."[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j van Achterberg, Cees; Durán, José-María Gómez; Mietchen, Daniel; Pensoft Publishers (2011). "Oviposition behaviour of four ant parasitoids (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Euphorinae, Neoneurini and Ichneumonidae, Hybrizontinae), with the description of three new European species". ZooKeys 125: 59–106. doi:10.3897/zookeys.125.1754. PMC 3185369. PMID 21998538. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Lecher, Colin (24 May 2012). "Gallery: The Top 10 New Species Of 2012". Popular Science (Photo, Video). Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Leggett, Martin (24 May 2012). "Ten of the best - amazing new species list for 2012". earthtimes.org. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Maugh II, Thomas H., II (23 May 2012). "Top 10 new species of 2011 named by conservation group". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Newlin, David Self. "Top 10 new species: Walking sausages, sneezing monkeys and blue spiders". ksl.com. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Geissmann, Thomas (12 December 2012). "Endangered Species: The Top 10 New Species: Photos" (Photos). Fauna & Flora International; Discovery.com. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  7. ^ See "Parasitoid wasp (Kollasmosoma sentum) ovipositing in ants (Cataglyphis ibericus)" (video). Madrid: Pensoft via YouTube. August 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  8. ^ a b See also "Death from above: Parasite wasps attacking ants from the air filmed for the first time" (Video). Phys.org. 29 August 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
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