Parasitoid wasp ovipositor morphology (Ichneumonoidea)

Monday, November 17, 2014: 9:00 AM
Portland Ballroom 255 (Oregon Convention Center)
Kyle Burks , Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Many wasps of the super family Ichneumonoidea possess long ovipositors that can be steered. Research into the mechanisms of steering has focused on various sensilla and on the structures of the ovipositor tip, while the internal skeletomuscular system of the ovipositor has been mostly overlooked. Internal ovipositor morphology is important for understanding the classification, life history, and evolution of Ichneumonoidea. I use dissections, confocal laser scanning microscopy, and 3D reconstructions from micro ct data to visualize the internal sclerites and muscles of the ovipositor. In particular, I focus on comparing specimens that have ovipositors with fused dorsal valves to specimens with separated dorsal valves. The goals of this research are to develop character concepts to describe internal ovipositor morphology, understand the mechanisms that allow for steering, and to produce 3D reconstructions. 3D reconstructions are not only good tools to visualize the complex interacting parts of the ovipositor, but have interdisciplinary applications, such as aiding in the design of wasp-inspired biomimetic micro-surgery tools.