New species of wasp discovered in Vondelpark
A new species of wasp has been discovered in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark. Scientists and researchers spotted the insect when exploring the biodiversity of a location in the busy city.
A five-day project, meant to explore how biodiverse a certain spot is in Amsterdam, has led to the discovery of a new species of wasp. Taxon Expeditions, an organisation that conducts research trips all over the world, set up the project in the Koeienweide, the park’s private nature reserve managed by the municipality.
Menno Schilthuizen, the founder of Taxon Expeditions, established a team of scientists and researchers, who stayed for five days in the Koeienweide. Schilthuizen chose the Koeienweide in order to explore how biodiverse a spot in the middle of a busy city could be.
A new species discovered
The results of the study were spectacular, according to city ecologist Remco Daalder. During the study, the researchers recorded more than 100 species of moths, 21 species of spiders and 15 species of snails. “It goes to show that the biodiversity in only a few small hectares in a city can be huge,” said Daalder.
The new species, Aphaereta vondelparkensis, is a type of parasitoid wasp and was named after the place it was discovered. The wasp was found trapped in a jar of rotting chicken, which had been buried in the ground. It was then taken back to the VU University in Amsterdam, where it was established that the specimen was indeed a newly discovered species.
More expeditions to come
Daalder praises Schilthuizen for broadening the idea of biodiversity: “When we say biodiversity, we usually think of rabbits or blackbirds. But Schilthuizen looks at the soil and it contains a wealth of species. We are talking to him about exploring other parks to see what creatures we can find there.”
Thumbnail: © Kees van Achterberg (Naturalis, Leiden and Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)