Pasighat: An Indian entomologist has discovered a new species of fig wasp at Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh.
Dr. M. M. Kumawat, who was working at the Pasighat College of Horticulture and Forestry in East Siang district at the time, collected the wasp species from the fruits of a golden fig/weeping fig tree near Pasighat Airfield in 2019.
He sent the insects to the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi for identification.
Two IARI scientists, Dr. Achintya Pramanik and Dr. Debjani Dey, studied the morphology of the insect and confirmed that it was a new species.
They named the wasp Sycoscapter Benjaminae after its fig host, Ficus Benjamina.
The new wasp species is significant because it is the first time that a fig wasp has been found in Arunachal Pradesh. Fig trees have no visible flowers and are pollinated by very small wasps.
The discovery of Sycoscapter benjaminae suggests that fig trees in Arunachal Pradesh are pollinated by a variety of wasp species.
Dr. Kumawat is currently a Professor in Agriculture University at Jodhpur, Rajasthan. He has a keen interest in studying the insect diversity of Arunachal Pradesh.
In 2017, he led a team of scientists from the CHF in discovering a new species of beetle, Aristobia reticulator, in the orchards of Arunachal Pradesh.
The discovery of new insect species highlights the rich biodiversity of Arunachal Pradesh. It is important to continue to study the insect diversity of the state in order to better understand and protect its unique ecosystems.
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