n African Entomology - Discovery of calcium enrichment in cutting teeth of parasitic wasp ovipositors (Hymenoptera : Ichneumonoidea)

Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-3589



Energy dispersion X-ray spectrometry of the ovipositor tips of two species of parasitic wasps, sp. (Ichneumonidae : Cryptinae) from Uganda and the cosmopolitan (Braconidae : Doryctinae) show that they have high concentrations of calcium as well as of manganese associated with the apex of the lower ovipositor valve and in the former, specifically with the lower valve teeth. Previous studies had revealed only manganese in the ovipositors of ichneumonoids, and the discovery of highly calcium-enriched cutting teeth might indicate the involvement of biomineralization, in addition to transition metal-protein complexes, in cuticular hardening in these parasitic wasps. Comparisons with related taxa indicate that the calcium enrichment is not present in all members of their groups.

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