Flinders and Baudin live on - in new wasp!

The head of the newly-discovered <i>Aulacus flindersbaudini</i> wasp, as viewed by a scanning electron microscope.

The head of the newly-discovered Aulacus flindersbaudini wasp, as viewed by a scanning electron microscope.
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Tuesday, 1 June 2004

The historic meeting of Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin on the South Australia's coast in 1802 has been commemorated more than 200 years later in the name of a new wasp discovered by University of Adelaide researchers.

The Aulacus flindersbaudini is one of three new wasps discovered and named by three University of Adelaide entomologists: Dr John Jennings, Professor Andy Austin and Mr Nick Stevens.

The three wasps belong to the family Aulacidae, which is extremely rare in South Australia. Less than a dozen specimens have been collected over the last 150 years.

The other species were named Aulacus grossi, in honour of its collector Dr Gordon Gross (former curator of Entomology at the South Australian Museum); and Aulacus belairensis, after its place of discovery, the Belair National Park.

Dr Jennings says the Aulacidae family is found on all continents, and their larvae live inside the larvae of wasps and beetles which bore into tree branches and trunks.

"Until the new species were discovered, the Aulacidae was known in South Australia from only a single specimen of the species, Aulacus moerens," he says. "This was described in 1868 and collected on the Adelaide plains. It hasn't been collected since and is probably locally extinct.

"We only have one specimen of Aulacus flindersbaudini, which was collected by Professor Andy Austin at West Bay in the Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island. The wasp is reddish brown and about 8mm long. Because all we have is the male of the species, we know nothing about its biology or host species.

"Given the location of the wasp, and with the recent celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the meeting between Flinders and Baudin and the opening of the University of Adelaide's new Flinders-Baudin Research Centre on Kangaroo Island, we thought the name to be entirely appropriate."

The descriptions of the new wasp species have just been published in the current issue of the Transactions of The Royal Society of South Australia.

 

Contact Details

Dr John Jennings
Email: john.jennings@adelaide.edu.au
Senior Lecturer
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 7277
Mobile: 0439 340 486


Ms Robyn Mills
Email: robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084


Mr David Ellis
Email: david.ellis@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762