On Christmas Eve, I obtained an e-mail from Christophe Barthélémy in Hong Kong to inform me that we would gotten a Christmas current. Our huge paper on the scoliid wasps of Hong Kong was now freely, publicly accessible! On this paper, we reviewed all sixteen species of Scoliidae identified from the Hong Kong SAR up to now, offering detailed descriptions and pictures of every. 9 of those had not beforehand been recorded from the area; one represented a wholly novel species. We additionally supplied an in depth identification key and clarified a number of the typically convoluted taxonomy of this household.
The Scoliidae, generally known as the furry digger wasps or furry flower wasps, are sometimes massive, placing wasps (the biggest species present in Hong Kong get near an inch in size) which might be most frequently seen by observers once they go to flowers for meals. They differ from different wasps within the construction of the wings that are formed into radiating folds (also known as ‘pseudoveins’) in direction of the outer margins. In life, the wings have an iridescent look. Feminine scoliids are sturdy bugs with highly effective legs. That is to allow them to burrow into the bottom in the hunt for hosts for his or her larvae which develop as parasitoids on the larvae of scarabaeid beetles. Male scoliids are typically smaller and extra slender than females. In some species (significantly members of the tribe Campsomerini), males can look very completely different from females, to the extent that it may be all however inconceivable to hyperlink one with the opposite in isolation. Males of some species can generally be present in massive numbers as they type swarms in the hunt for females.
Christophe and I had lit upon the concept of manufacturing a evaluate of the household as I used to be trying to establish specimens collected as a part of the Hong Kong mangrove survey. Christophe already had an in depth variety of scoliids as a part of his personal newbie assortment; these fashioned the larger a part of the fabric we used. One among our major challenges was making sense of the group’s taxonomy. In addition to the aforementioned difficulties in matching males to females, scoliid taxonomy has its personal particular person tangles. The system has traditionally been beset with confusion, questionable selections, and disrespect for precedence. Species have typically been subdivided right into a bewildering array of subspecies, varieties and formae, typically on the premise of fairly superficial variations and sometimes with little obvious consideration as to whether or not they represented distinct populations (people of various ‘subspecies’ could typically be discovered on the identical location). Because of this, I had to spend so much of time digging into archaic publications to verify they’d been appropriately quoted by their successors. Luckily (as very long time readers of this website will most likely know), that is precisely the type of factor that I like doing*.
*With a shout-out right here to the Biodiversity Heritage Library. A fully sensible useful resource that has simply revolutionised the best way we do literature analysis.
Whereas I largely took care of the taxonomy, key, and the primary drafts of the descriptions, Christophe produced the pictures, distribution maps, and revisions of the descriptions after I returned to Australia (together with male genital dissections of all of the species we had readily available). The tip result’s a paper I really feel very happy with. Thanks to Benoit Guénard and the Entomology lab of Hong Kong College for offering entry to sources, and when you have any curiosity within the fantastic world of Hong Kong furry flower wasps, you possibly can take a look at the ultimate product right here.