New genus of wasp identified
Ecology and Environment
3rd Feb, 2023
The scientific community has named a new genus of wasp after the Soliga community of Karnataka.
- Wasp is a social winged insectwhich has a narrow waist and a sting and is typically yellow with black stripes.
- It constructs a paper nest from wood pulp and raises the larvae on a diet of insects.
- In recognition of the conservation of forests and biodiversityof the indigenous people.
- Genus named: Soliga ecarinata is an acknowledgement of the Soliga lifestyle which is rooted in the philosophy of sustainability since ancient days.
- This is the second genus of this subfamily reported from Indiaand the first from South India
Key features of the Species:
- The new wasp belongs to the subfamily Metopiinae of Darwin wasps’ family Ichneumonidae.
- The subfamily Metopiinae has 862 species in 27 genera including two fossil genera.
- Most of these species are seen only in the Palaearctic region, Neotropical and Nearctic regions.
The species is named ‘ecarinata’ denoting the absence of ridges in certain body regions and this new insect is strikingly colourful and distinct from all its relatives.
The Soliga community:
- The Soliga people are a tribal community found in the Biligiri Rangana (BR) Hills in the district of Chamarajanagar, in the southern state of Karnataka, India.
- They belong to the Australoid ethnic group: dark complexion, curly hair, short stature, a dolichocephalic head, a sunken nasal root and a depressed nasal bridge.
- They speak the Soliganudia dialect that has 65% lexical similarity with Kannada, a Dravidian language spoken in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
- The Soliga used to practice shifting cultivation.
- They grow Ragi (Finger millet, Eleusine coracana) for subsistence.
- Their main source of income is harvesting and sale of Non-timber Forest Produce (NTFP) like honey, nellikai (gooseberry, Emblica officinalis), bamboo, Paasi(Lichen), algae, wild turmeric, Indian blackberry, soapnut and nennari (wild root).
- They also make baskets using bamboo.
- Religion followed: Soliga people follow naturism and animismalong with following Hindu practices and their main deities are Madeshwara.