The Aranda Primary School Entomology Club.
A wasp named Shrek
A group of primary school students have described and named a wasp after Shrek, the jolly green ogre of Hollywood film fame.
1 August 2004 | Updated 14 October 2011
A group of Aranda Primary School pupils from Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory, presented a scientific paper at the XXII International Congress of Entomology, in August 2004.
The paper was on a new species of wasp they decided to name after the main character from the animated movie Shrek.
The six students worked with Dr John La Salle of CSIRO Entomology Division to photograph and formally describe the wasp using specimens from the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC).
The young entomologists enjoyed working with equipment that allowed them to see materials barely visible to the naked eye.
The microscopic wasp is one of only ten species of its type found in Australia and is the first species of gall-forming insect known to form the galls (abnormal swellings made largely from plant matter) in elaiosomes - a small structure attached to seeds.
The formal name for the new species of gall-inducing wasp is, Tanaostigmodes shrek Apsec (Hymenoptera:Tanaostigmatidae).
To avoid having a species name encumbered with many author names, the author name is given as Apsec (an acronym for Aranda Primary School Entomology Club).
This activity was carried out by primary school students in the Australian Capital Territory who have shown an advanced interest in entomology.
The students were:
The paper was published in the Australian Journal of Entomology in 2005, titled, The description of a new species of gall-inducing wasp: a learning activity for primary school students.
The students were involved in every part of this project, which included:
discussing the characters used to decide that this was a new species and why it was different from existing Australian species
examining the characters necessary to produce a description
making illustrations of the new species using a scanning electron microscope and a digital camera attached to conventional microscope
making up the plates using computer software
and choosing a name for the new species.
The students also helped to prepare a slide presentation which was presented at the XXII International Congress of Entomology, Brisbane, Queensland in August 2004.
Find out more about ANIC's research on wasps and View the full article [external link].