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Deadly wasp named for Kill Bill’s Beatrix Kiddo

A recently discovered wasp in Thailand, whose yellow color and lethal behavior make it a dangerous bug among dangerous bugs was given the official name of Cystomastacoides kiddo, named after Uma Thurman’s deadly assassin, Beatrix Kiddo, in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies.

Parasitic wasps are known for their morbidly clever ways. For instance, recent research found that one species of parasitic wasp, Ampulex compressa, has larvae that secrete antimicrobial substances to keep their host, a cockroach, from spoiling. In another study, detailed in 2011 in the journal Biology Letters, scientists found Dinocampus coccinellae wasps use ladybugs as incubators because the zombie ladybugs keep predators away from the wasps’ vulnerable larva.

In the new study, scientists identified two more new species of wasps in the Cystomastacoides genus, but in Papua New Guinea. One, Cystomastacoides asotaphaga, was discovered victimizing a moth caterpillar of the species Asota plana. The other, Cystomastacoides nicolepeelerae, was named for fantasy author Nicole Peeler, a favorite novelist of Donald Quicke, a researcher at Imperial College London who led the study.

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