Ottawa a hotspot for wasps in North America

If you’re afraid of wasps, Ottawa is not the place to live.

A new study published in the journal Zookeys analyzed about 2,000 specimens of wasps from the Canadian National Collection of Insects collected between 1894 and 2010.

There are roughly 200 wasp species across Canada and about 350 across North America. 

But the researchers concluded that Ottawa contains 158 types of microgastrinae, a subspecies of wasp, meaning the city is home to almost three-quarters of the species for the entire country.

Researchers suggest this is due to Ottawa’s strong biodiversity. This was surprising, as most biodiverse regions are tropical.  

Wasp subspecies

The wasp Sathon cinctiformis is another of the 158 subspecies of wasp known to inhabit Ottawa. (Dr. Jose Fernandez-Triana)

Ottawa, while definitely not tropical — it’s considered a temperate zone —  is located in an area that transitions between two types of forest: eastern deciduous and boreal. This makes the capital region quite biodiverse and allows wasps to thrive.   
Among other interesting discoveries by the researchers were four new species of wasps, two of which are new for North America and another two which are new for Canada and Ontario.

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