A team of entomological researchers at Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, in collaboration with Matin Behin Negareh imaging Technology (BN) Co., and advanced X-ray imaging systems lab (AXIS), has studied the application of micro computed tomography technology in identification of parasitoid wasps.
The wasps of the family Braconidae are small insects that act as parasitoid on other invertebrates in nature. These insects play an important role in defeating and controlling agricultural and forest pests. Applying parasitoids is very common in biological control programs and is widely used against important pests such as caterpillars, bugs, beetles and flies.
As for the role of parasitoid wasps in the biological control programs in Iran, describing the new species of these insects for Iran and the world, has a great value in further study of these beneficial insects in nature and applying them in agricultural industry. To date, close to 800 species of the family Braconidae have been identified from Iran. Recently, a new species of this family has been identified using Micro-CT imaging technology with a new approach in taxonomic studies. With the advent of new imaging technologies, their application in taxonomic study has become more important.
The imaging was performed by LOTUS-NDT scanner, in AXIS lab.
This study is the first study to identify insects using Micro-CT imaging technology in Iran, which has led to the identification of a new species of the genus Protapanteles sp. from subfamily Microgastrinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae).
The team believes that the using of Micro-CT imaging technology can provide valuable information of the morphology of these insects due to the body size and structure. An important aspect of this study is the evaluation of how Micro-CT technology can improve taxonomic researches. Three-dimensional models from the Micro-CT reconstructed images provide a wide range of anatomical and morphological analyzes. The use of common methods in the study of some important identification features of parasitoids has limitations that increase the rate of error in identification. Today, the application of Micro-CT imaging has led to taxonomic revisions in insect classification.
Also, with making and presenting three-dimensional models, the first steps are taken to make virtual natural history collections that provide fast and free access to digital specimens. Until now, specimens had to be sent to foreign countries for imaging and identification.
Special Thanks to Mikaeel Pasandideh