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Komodo Dragon of Wasps': New Wasp Species Has Jaws Bigger Than Its Legs!

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"I don't know how it can walk."

(Photo: Lynn Kimsey and Michael Ohl)

Coming across any ordinary wasp is often enough to make even the toughest individual cautiously turn the other direction, but a new species identified in Indonesia will have them sprinting away. If its size isn't the kicker, the fact that its jaws are longer than its legs will put your legs in motion.

Found by University of California-Davis entomologist Lynn Kimsey, a new insect has been described as the "Komodo Dragon of wasps." Kimsey discovered the wasp last year but it was recently confirmed as a new species, which she has named Gardua, meaning "king of birds" in Indonesian.

According to National Geographic, Megalara garuda is two inches long and its "sickle-shaped" jaws are larger than its own legs. Even more terrifying, the male species has spikes on its jaws, presumably for defense and reproduction. The Daily Mail reports Kimsey saying, "I don't know how it can walk":

"Its jaws are so large that they wrap up either side of the head when closed. When the jaws are open they are actually longer than the male’s front legs."

[...]

"In another species in the genus the males hang out in the nest entrance. This serves to protect the nest from parasites and nest robbing, and for this he exacts payment from the female by mating with her every time she returns to the nest. So it's a way of guaranteeing paternity. Additionally, the jaws are big enough to wrap around the female;s thorax and hold her during mating."

Watch this Yahoo News! report on the wasp:

If you happen to be in Indonesia, you may not have to worry about one of these creatures buzzing by you. Kimsey said that so far all the specimens they have found have been dead. Kimsey cites replacing their forest habitat with crop farming as a potential factor in the death of these wasps. Kimsey said it makes her "sick to my stomach" to think of this newly discovered species' population declining due to human activity.

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