The mystery wasp (Cape Tribulation, Queensland, Australia)

Here’s why I love the internet. Within 24 hours of tweeting a new photo of an odd Australian wasp, I received this tweet back from the fine folks at the NCSU insect museum:

I emailed chrysidid expert Lynn Kimsey, a friend from my grad school days back at U.C. Davis. I hadn’t recognized the wasp as a chrysidid- it’s that weird! Lynn replied almost immediately:

OMG!!! I’m currently revising this genus – Loboscelidia. I’ve never seen them alive. We have no idea how they make a living except for one obscure reference to rearing one from a walking stick egg. Do you have any other photos of it??? This is a male.

Awesome. Seriously, awesome.

Twitter got the wasp in front of the right set of eyeballs within a day after I posted the photo. Now we not only know what the insect is, but we know- after some additional sleuthing- these may be the only live photographs ever taken of this species, genus, and subfamily. A Myrmecos exclusive!

Here are a few more:

Loboscelidia sp.

Loboscelidia sp.

To make my life complete, now I just need instant image-processing and tweeting capabilities from remote tropical jungles. Had I known in the field that this bizarre animal was a rare and potentially valuable discovery, I would have devoted more than two minutes to it.