Extinct parasitic wasps found preserved within fly pupae fossils

For the first time, researchers have discovered the preserved remains of parasitic wasps — including four extinct and previous unknown varieties — in fly pupae fossils. Those four wasp species were endoparasites, a type of parasite that develops within the body of its host. True to its nature, the researchers have named one of the previous unknown parasitic wasp species Xenomorphia resurrecta, the genus of which is named after the parasitic aliens featured in the movie Aliens.

Parasitic wasps, which are still present in the modern world, lay eggs on other insects that serve as protection and possibly food for their young. A variety of these parasitoids are endoparasites, which inject their eggs into the host insect, where the larvae remains until it's time to emerge, ultimately killing and often feeding on the host.

Researchers with Karlsruhe Institute of Technology are behind a study newly published in Nature Communications, revealing the discovery of preserved parasitic wasp larvae within the unfortunate insect hosts. Ultrafast x-ray imaging was used to identify the otherwise hidden parasitation; a total of 55 instances of the parasitic wasps' presence were found.

Of those cases, four extinct and previously known species were discovered, the most frequently observed among them being the aforementioned Xenomorphia resurrecta. The video above shows the preserved fly pupa and hidden parasitic wasp in incredible detail.

The fossils were acquired from the Natural History Museum of Basel, as well as the Naturhistoriska riksmuseet of Stockholm; more than 1,500 pupae measuring around 3mm in length were acquired from various collections. The fossils were originally found in Quercy, France, inside phosphorite mines.

SOURCE: Phys.org