Ny gullveps for vitenskapen, avslørt av sitt eget språk

Gullveps tilhører våre flotteste insekter med sine skinnende metallfarger som påminner de vakreste smykker. Men skjønnhet er som kjent ikke alltid like lett å klassifisere…

I mer enn 200 år har insektforskere strevet med å sortere gullveps i de rette «artsboksene» uten at man har klart å bestemme seg for hva som er innenartsvariasjon og hvilke forskjeller som er artsspesifikke. Men i løpet av de siste 10 årene har vi fått et gjennombrudd i denne forskningen. Det er særlig DNA-strekkoding som har vært avgjørende for forståelsen av artsinndelingen for gullveps, men denne metoden er heller ikke tilstrekkelig for å oppnå et fullstendig bilde av mangfoldet. Et siste tilskudd i verktøykassen med morfologiske og genetiske karakterer er de artsspesifikke kjemiske særtrekkene hos insekter. Og da snakker vi om en gruppe feromoner som kalles kutikulære hydrokarboner (CHC). Basert på strukturforskjeller i disse feromonene mellom nærstående arter, har vi nå beskrevet en ny gullveps for vitenskapen med typemateriale fra Norge.

Gullveps

Gullveps er en stor insektgruppe med mer enn 2500 beskrevne arter på verdensbasis. Totalt 450 av disse er kjent fra Europa, og mangfoldet av gullveps er størst i Middelhavsområdet. Ganske få arter er kjent fra våre nordlige områder, og totalt er det påvist 73 arter i Skandinavia og Baltikum. I Norge har vi nå registrert 40 arter av gullveps, og halvparten av disse tilhører den ekstremt vanskelige slekta ildgullvepser (Chrysis). Studier ved hjelp av DNA-strekkoding har gitt store framskritt i forståelsen av mangfoldet i denne gruppen og bare i løpet av de siste 5 årene har to nye arter for vitenskapen, som også finnes i Norge, blitt beskrevet.

LIsta

Sanddynene på Lista, Farsund der Chrysis parabrevitarsis ble funnet. Foto:FØ.

Men et spesielt artskompleks viste seg å være vanskelig å få klarhet i ved hjelp av strekkodingen. Da man analyserte ulikheter i gensekvenser, viste det seg at arten Chrysis brevitarsis, som for så vidt er en karakteristisk art, plasserte seg midt i en klynge bestående av tilsynelatende identiske individer av den sjeldne arten Chrysis pseudobrevitarsis. De genetiske forskjellene var imidlertid veldig små, og mindre enn det man forventer mellom forskjellige arter.

Inngående morfologiske studier av individer i de to genetiske gruppene viste ingen forskjeller inntil man oppdaget noen små ulikheter i utforming av porepunktene på undersiden av antennene. Disse strukturene er viktige deler av sanseapparatet hos insekter, så her kunne det ligge noe viktig…

Feromoner

Kutikulære hydrokarboner (CHC) består av lange molekylkjeder som finnes på overflaten av det ytre skjelettet (kutikula) hos alle insekter. Disse molekylene fungerer som signalstoffer (feromoner) for å gjenkjenne individer av samme art. Det viser seg at nesten alle arter som er undersøkt har forskjellig utforming av disse molekylene når man lager såkalte CHC-profiler basert på CHC-ekstrakter både fra levende og døde individer. Slike analyser er derfor svært lovende med tanke på å kunne skille kryptiske arter av insekter og har allerede vært brukt for å se på forskjeller mellom nærstående arter av maur. Analyser av CHC for de to gruppene av Chrysis «pseudobrevitarsis» viste store forskjeller i CHC-profiler, og kombinert med de små morfologiske og genetiske forskjellene, kunne vi derfor konkludere med at dette var snakk om to atskilte arter.

Gullveps er parasitter på andre av broddveps (Aculeata) og vertene til Chrysis pseudobrevitarsis er murerveps i slekten kamveps Euodynerus. Gullvepsene oppfører seg som gjøken ved å oppsøke bol av verten, og legge sine egne egg sammen med vertens egg. Gullvepslarvene fortærer etter hvert både matforrådet og larvene til verten før de klekker til nye gullveps. I Nord-Europa finnes to arter av kamveps: Euodynerus notatus og E. quadrifasciatus. Det viser seg nå at de to genetiske gruppene av Chrysis psudobrevitarsis, utnytter hver sin art av kamveps, noe som understøtter at dette er snakk om to ulike arter. Og ikke nok med det. Analyser av CHC-profiler av vertsartene viser at gullvepsen etterligner CHC-profilen til sin vert, noe som sannsynligvis er medvirkende til at gullvepsene unngår å bli avslørt av verten. Det er med andre ord snakk om å kamuflere seg ved å lære seg vertens språk.

Navnsetting

Men den nye arten måtte jo ha et navn. Vi er flere som jobber med gullveps i Nord-Europa og det ble utlyst en uformell konkurranse for å avgjøre hva den nye arten skulle hete. Vi sendte først inn navneforslag og deretter ble det stemt om de ulike alternativet. Og jeg må si jeg er ganske stolt over at det var mitt navneforslag som fikk flest stemmer og som dermed fikk æren av å døpe arten til Chrysis parabrevitarsis. På norsk har vi kalt den for sporegullveps på grunnlag av de kraftige sporene på leggene. Arten er trolig svært sjelden og er hittil bare funnet en gang i Norge på Lista i Vest-Agder i august 2008. Dette eksemplaret er da også med blant paratypene i artsbeskrivelsen. Dvs. at artsbeskrivelse er basert på dette individet, sammen med holotypen og de andre paratypene.

Chrysis parabrevitarsis er beskrevet her:

Cuticular Hydrocarbon Profile Analyses Help Clarify the Species Identity of Dry-Mounted Cuckoo Wasps (Hymenoptera: Chrysididae), Including Type Material, and Reveal Evidence for a Cryptic Species | Insect Systematics and Diversity | Oxford Academic (oup.com)

Omtale av arten i Artsdatabanken:

Chrysis parabrevitarsis (artsdatabanken.no)

116 thoughts on “Ny gullveps for vitenskapen, avslørt av sitt eget språk

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