The Rainforest Wasp

The Rainforest Wasp in Amazon Jungle: Local species richness and between-site similarity in species composition of parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae; Pimplinae and Rhyssinae) were correlated with those of four plant groups (pteridophytes, Melastomataceae, Burseraceae and Arecaceae) in a western Amazonian lowland rain forest mosaic. The mosaic structure of the forest was related to variation in soils within the non-inundated terrain. Significant matrix correlation between patterns in parasitoid wasp species composition and plant species composition was found in jungle. Most of the overall correlation was due to idiobiont parasitoids of weakly concealed hosts, which attack host larvae and pupae in exposed situations,with two of thefour ecologically defined parasitoid groups showingno correlation at all.A positive correlation between the number of plant species and the number of Pimplinae and Rhyssinae species at a site was found when the latter was corrected for collecting effort. Consequently, the degree of floristic difference between sites may be indicative of the difference in species composition of ichneumonids, and the species richness of plants may serve as a predictor of the species richness of parasitoid wasps. Although these results were obtained in a mosaic including structurally and floristically clearly different types of rain forest, the correlation coefficients were relatively low, and the present results lend only weak support to the idea of using plant distributions as indicators of animal distributions with jungle trips.

There are several ways in which the patchily distributed plant communities may affect the distribution of parasitoid wasps. Species richness and architectural complexity of the vegetation are expected to increase the number of available niches both for herbivores and their parasitoids (Hawkins 1988), and variation in these vegetation properties may affect the cues that parasitoids use for host location (Gauld 1991, Vinson 1976). There is some experimental evidence that the herbivore-induced volatiles of different plant species may attract different
parasitoid species (Godfray 1994). In addition, many specialized herbivores sequester secondary chemicals from their food plants for protection against predators and parasitoids, which may force the parasitoids to specialize on hosts that feed only on a limited range of (patchily distributed) plant species (Gauld et al. 1992). Correlation between plant and parasitoid species richness and the patterns in their species compositions would support the idea that such niche differentiation is an important factor in explaining the high diversity of parasitoid wasps in Peruvian Amazonia.

Wasps in cloud forest lowland amazon trail Peru

Wasps can be nasty stinging pests spoiling a summer’s day in jungle trips, but they are just one of a group of insects, including ants and bees, or Hymenoptera, the second most diverse insect order (circa 100.000 described species).It’s hard to generalize about such a diverse group. wasps vary greatly in size from the tiny to the worryingly large.

Some species build large intricate nests, others build simple ones and many build none at all in jungle. A few wasp species are solitary, such as potter wasps in amazon rainforest. Most are communal, living in hives of from five or ten individuals to many tens of thousands. Although hive wasps operate a caste system incorporating a queen, workers and so on, each species has its own unique live history in amazon rainforest.

Some live by scavenging, others live by robbing ants or other insects of larvae in jungle. Minute non-communal parasitic wasps, able to fit in this printed lay their eggs in a caterpillar which then produces dozens more tiny wasps instead of a moth or a butterfly in manu. Before they emerge from the caterpillar, the tiny maggots are in turn parasitized by another kind of wasp – a hyperparasite in amazon rainforest.

Another highly specialized group of tiny wasps (Cynipidae) – gall wasps – lay their eggs in tree branches and, by some unknown chemical means in jungle, force the tree to produce a spongy amorphous tissue called a gall. Safely within this chamber the wasp maggot will develop into an adult to continue the cycle in jungle trips.

That is if it escapes predators or parasites, at least one of which may well be another wasp .some wasps have coevolved, creating fascinating relationships in jungle peruvian. Fig trees (Flrassp), fairly common in the rainforest, display a remarkable symbiotic relationship with fig wasps that are about the size of a match-head in amazon rainforest of Peru.

Inside the hard and gourd-like fig are minute, composite flowers which are female, male or sterile. Despite having male and male flowers side-by-side pollination cannot occur because the female flowers mature earlier than the males. A few of the flowers are sterile and are used by the previous generation of female fig wasps to lay eggs in.

The male wasps hatch first and inseminate the still unborn female wasps. As the females hatch at precisely the same time that the male flowers reach maturity, they exit the flower laden with pollen in search of another fig. searching for a sterile flower in which to lay her eggs, the female deposits her precious pollen cargo on female flowers.

After laying her eggs the female fig-wasp dies, at least if she isn’t finished off first by one of the parasitic male fig wasps roaming around inside the fig looking for partners to mate with. Each fig tree relies on just one species of wasp to do the pollinating. According to tropical biologists Forsyth and Miyata, around 900 kinds of neotropical fig tree are known, so there must be at least 900 fig wasps to go with each tree species.