Giant New Wasp Bites and Stings

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If you think stinging insects in your garden are big, consider Dalara garuda, a newly identified wasp that's five times bigger than most other wasps, according to a recent Natural History Museum, Berlin, press release. You can see the size difference in the above picture.

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The huge wasp was named after "Garuda," a mythical "winged warrior" bird from Indonesia.

Entomologist Michael Ohl identified the pitch black wasp while studying the insect collections at the museum. It was originally collected from Indonesia's Sulawesi Island by Lynn Kimsey of the University of California, Davis.

Males of this wasp species measure 2.5 inches long, or about the same size as a human ring finger in length. Their jaws are impressively large and are said to be even stronger and longer than the wasp's front legs.

"Its body size and jet-black color make this wasp a really disturbing creature," Ohl was quoted as saying in the release.

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Little is known about the wasp's behavior, since it was not observed much in the wild, but it's likely that the big jaws play a role in fighting and mating. 

The wasp is doubly ferocious since it can both sting and inflict a painful bite with its scissor-like jaws.

"Its jaws are so large that they wrap up either side of the head when closed," Kimsey said.

She added, "When the jaws are open they are actually longer than the male's front legs. I don't know how it can walk."

Females of this wasp species are formidible too.

Kimsey concluded, "The females are smaller but still larger than other members of their subfamily."

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