National Geographic, this week released a report on the investigation of parasitic wasps in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. Researchers in the United States, Costa Rica and Canada, led by Daniel Jansen and his wife Winnie Hallwachs, found nearly 200 new species of wasps in the Guanacaste Conservation Area (ACG), increasing the number of known species worldwide by 20 percent.
The discovery was made using a technique called DNA bar coding, which revealed substantial genetic differences in wasps that otherwise appear to be simular. Differences are substantial enough to prevent wasps from other species from mating with each other.
According to the National Geographic report, the species of parasitic wasps (called parasitoid wasps) are valued because they target populations of aphids, beetles, and flies, which are harmful to humans and agriculture. They use a virus like form of reproduction, injecting their eggs in the larvae of insects, which consume them.