Resurrection of the stinger

Welcome back Oobius depressus! A wasp that has reappeared after last being sighted in 1914.

An entolomogist with the Forest Service Northern Research Station in Lansing, Michigan, found the supposedly extinct wasp by placing a trap under the bark of several black locust trees, where wood-boring beetles, known as locust borers (illustrated), lay their eggs.

The locust borer attacks the black locust tree by leaving its larvae into a tunnel dug in the tree trunk and branches, weakening the tree and as a result, the black locust tree becomes deformed or stops growing.

Identifying the Oobius depressus was not easy, because the last specimen found 101 years ago in Morristown, Illinois, is missing its head.

The newly-found wasp is a female, with a flattened body that allows it to penetrate the trunk where the locust borer lays its egg.

For the Oobius depressus there’s no tastier snack than the locust borer’s eggs.


Picture source: Bruce Marlin via Wikimedia Commons