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The description of a new species of gall-inducing wasp: a learning activity for primary school students

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A new species of gall-inducing wasp, Tanaostigmodes shrek Apsec sp. nov. (Hymenoptera: Tanaostigmatidae), is described from the Australian Capital Territory. This species forms its gall in elaiosomes. These are specialised, protein-rich structures attached to seeds to attract seed dispersal by ants. Despite the fact that gall induction has evolved many times in the Chalcidoidea, and many different parts of the plant are utilised, this is the first record of a species inducing galls in elaiosomes. This project has been carried out as a special activity by primary school students who have shown an advanced interest in entomology. The students have taken all the scanning electron micrographs and digital images of this species, composed the plates, and have been involved in producing the description (including making measurements, comparing the new species with all described Australian species and observing and discussing differences from known species). The students have prepared a presentation on this work which was presented at the International Congress of Entomology, Brisbane.
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Keywords: Australia; Hymenoptera; Tanaostigmatidae; Tanaostigmodes; elaiosome; gall induction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Aranda Primary School, Aranda, ACT 2614, Australia. 2: Canberra High School, Macquarie, ACT 2614, Australia. 3: CSIRO Entomology, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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