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Still Waters

New species of gall wasp discovered

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Still Waters

A horrifying insect soap opera with vampires, mummies and infant-eating parasites is playing out on the stems and leaves of live oak trees every day, and evolutionary biologist Scott Egan found the latest character—a new wasp species that may be a parasite of a parasite—within walking distance of his Rice University lab.

Egan, an associate professor of biosciences at Rice, studies gall wasps, tiny insects that cast a biochemical spell on live oaks. When gall wasps lay their eggs on oak leaves or stems, they chemically program the tree to unwittingly produce a tumor-like growth, or gall, which first shelters the egg and then feeds the larval wasp that hatches from it.

https://phys.org/news/2020-10-species-gall-wasp.html

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