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A new fossil evaniid wasp from Eocene Baltic amber, with highly modified compound eyes unique within the Hymenoptera

  • John T. Jennings (a1), David D. O’Carroll (a2), Priya (a1), Lars Krogmann (a3) and Andrew D. Austin (a1)...

Evaniid wasps develop as solitary egg predators within the oothecae of cockroaches. Fossil evaniids are relatively common compared with most other parasitoid Hymenoptera, undoubtedly due to their searching for host cockroaches on tree trunks and thus an increased chance of being trapped in tree resin. The genus Parevania Kieffer, 1907 is widely distributed through the Old World and is also known from a small number of rather unremarkable fossil taxa. Here we add to this extinct fauna Parevania oculiseparata Jennings, Krogmann, and Austin new species from Baltic Eocene amber, a species that has highly modified compound eyes that are unique among the Hymenoptera, and possibly among insects as a whole. Parevania oculiseparata n. sp. possesses a prominent acute ridge extending across the entire dorso-ventral elongation of the eye surface. Modifications to the regular curved surface of the eyes are extremely rare among Hymenoptera and previously were only known from two species of Inostemma Haliday, 1833 (Platygastridae s. s.) and the three known species of Isomerala Shipp, 1894 (Eucharitidae). In describing this unusual fossil evaniid species, we also analyze the optical consequences of the eye surface discontinuity, and discuss different types of compound eye modifications that occur in other Hymenoptera and other insects.

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