Chalcids to the Rescue!

I’m sure that many of you around the world are as big a fan as we are of David Attenborough here in England, and we hope that the new series of Planet Earth is reaching you where you are as well. (If not, we do encourage you to buy the DVD the second it comes out!)

If you watched the first episode, then you will have learned of the plight of the red crabs native to Christmas Island, and how they are being decimated by an invasive species of ant.

Well, we’re pleased to tell you that this marvelous creature in the image below is coming to the rescue!

tachardiaephagus-somervilli-mahdihassan-1923

Tachardiaephagus somervilli (Mahdihassan, 1923) – Specimen of the species to be released on Xmas island for biological control of invasive yellow crazy ants. 

Have you heard the one about the wasp that kills the bug that feeds the ants that kill the crabs that keep the forests healthy on Christmas Island?

If not, that’s because it hasn’t happened yet, but it is a tale worth telling.

In the coming weeks, Parks Australia will release a 2mm wasp on Christmas Island to control the island’s yellow crazy ant infestation. Crazy ants are a big threat to the island’s wildlife, including its famous red crabs.

Biological control – when we use one species to control another – is infamous for giving Australia its cane toad invasion. So, how do we know this one will work?

Read more about how A Tiny Wasp Could Save Christmas Island’s Spectacular Red Crabs from Crazy Ants.

Here on Notes from Nature, we have an entire collection of these marvelous microscopic parasitoid wasps – containing much valuable information for researchers around the world, with many more potential ‘biological control’ applications yet to be uncovered.

Help us set that information free, in our Magnified expedition: The Killer Within: Wasps, but not as you know them.

killer-within

 

 

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About margaretgold

I'm the Science Community Coordinator at the Natural History Museum, London where I work together with our Digital Collections team and Citizen Science teams to help set the world's Natural History data free. I also lead the crowdsourcing work within SYNTHESYS, which is an EC-funded project creating an integrated European infrastructure for natural history collections.

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