Scientists found a new species of wasp from South Africa and has named it Conobregma bradpitti, after the American actor and producer Brad Pitt.
Conobregma bradpitti belongs to a widespread group of wasps parasitizing moth and butterfly caterpillars.
“These wasps lay their eggs into a host, which once parasitized starts hardening,” explained Dr. Buntika Butcher from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, lead author of a paper published online in the journal ZooKeys.
“Thus, the wasp cocoon can safely develop and later emerge from the ‘mummified’ larva.”
“Despite their macabre behavior, many of these wasp species are considered valuable in agriculture because of their potential as biological control.”
Brad Pitt’s flying namesake is a tiny wasp measuring less than 2 mm.
Its body is deep brown, nearly black in color, while its head, antennae and legs are brown-yellow.
The wings stand out with their much brighter shades. Interestingly, Conobregma bradpitti unites two, until now, doubtful genera.
“Being very similar, they had already been noted to have only four diagnostic features that set them apart. However, C. bradpitti shared two of those with each,” the researchers said.
“Thus, the species prompted the solution of the taxonomic problem and, as a result, the two were synonymized.”
In the same ZooKeys paper, Dr. Butcher and her colleagues describe another species of parasitic wasp, Facitorus nasseri.
“It is the first from its subtribe spotted in the whole of India, while its closest relative lives in Nepal,” they explained.