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Rare wasp spotted in Worcester - Worcestershire Wildlife Trust

Agrothereutes abbreviates by Cathryn Dhonau
Agrothereutes abbreviates by Cathryn Dhonau

A rare ichneumon wasp Agrothereutes abbreviates has been seen in Worcestershire and recorded as part of a citizen science project to record wildlife in the county.

Cathryn Dhonau submitted a photo of an ichneumon wasp via the Trust's wildlife sightings scheme at the end of June. Ichneumon wasps are often very difficult to identify but Cathryn had struck lucky and had stumbled upon one that was identifiable from the single photograph that she took on her camera phone. National Ichneumonidae expert, Jaswinder Boparai, confirmed the wasp as Agrothereutes abbreviates.

The wasp is one of more than 5000 species of parasitoid wasps in the UK. Depending on the species, parasitoid wasps lay their eggs on or into their hosts – the host provides all the food that the hatched larvae needs to develop into an adult. It may sound gruesome but it’s a fascinating lifestyle that contributes to nature’s balance.

Many of these wasps don’t have a common name as they’re not often seen and very little is known about them. The national database shows that there are just 10 other records in the UK for Agrothereutes abbreviates. Eight of these are from before 1920 and of the three more modern records, this is the first time it’s been recorded in Worcestershire.

Last remaining species of ‘truly wild’ horse born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo - ZSL

Zookeepers have captured on camera a first glimpse of a rare and Endangered Przewalski's foal, the world’s last “truly wild” species of horse, born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

The female foal was born on 17 July at the UK’s largest Zoo, as part of the European Endangered Species Programme, and is just starting to explore her surroundings with her mum.

(image: ZSL)
(image: ZSL)

Unlike other species of horse that are sometimes described as ‘wild’, the Przewalski's horse (Equus przewalskii) is the only species considered by conservationists to be truly wild, rather than simply “feral”, as it is not descended from domesticated horses.

Keepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo had been monitoring the foal’s pregnant mum, Charlotte, and were delighted when she gave birth to a healthy, female foal in a secluded area of the 600-acre Zoo.

The keepers sent their photos of the foal to ZSL conservationists working in Mongolia and asked them to name her. Their colleagues named the pointy-eared foal “Sooton” which means “sassy and vigilant” in Mongolian.

Przewalski's horses bred at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo were successfully reintroduced to Mongolia as part of a conservation project by Mongolian and UK ZSL scientists to save the then Extinct-in-the-Wild species. There are now hundreds of wild Przewalski's horses living in the grasslands and deserts of Mongolia, Ukraine and China, and their population is increasing. As a result of reintroduction projects, the IUCN Red List reclassified the Przewalski's horse as Critically Endangered in 2008, and then again as Endangered as 2011.

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