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Nanocthuhlu lovecrafti Buffington

(Life: Kingdom: Metazoa (animals); Phylum: Arthropoda; Class: Hexapoda; Order: Hymenoptera; Superfamily: Cynipoidea; Family: Figitidae; Subfamily: Eucoilinae)

Nanocthulhu lovecrafti Buffington, 2012. Holotype in Iziko South African Museum, Cape Town (SAMC). Type locality: Guernsey Farm, 15 km east of Klaserie, South Africa.

ClassificationFigitidae keysCynipoidea keys

Holotype female  


South Africa.


Nanocthulhu is a reference to the mythical creature Cthulhu, who after millennia of death-sleep on the island of R’lyeh, is awakened by, and immediately begins the cacodaemoniacal pursuit of the crew of the Alert in H.P. Lovecraft’s weird fiction story The Call of Cthulhu (Lovecraft 1928). Cthulhu’s is described as having ‘a pulpy, tentacled head,’ and the clypeal fuscina described herein is reminiscent of Cthulhu’s head; the nano refers to the diminutive size of this wasp. The gender is neuter; the pronunciation is unfortunately controversial. The standard pronunciation is ‘nano- ka-thoo-loo,’ though Lovecraft himself suggested “. . . taken as something like Khl^ul’-hloo,” [H.P. Lovecraft, letter of July 23, 1934 to Duane Rimel; Lovecraft (2005); ‘lovecrafti’ is in honor of H.P. Lovecraft, acclaimed author of weird fiction and the creator of Cthulhu.


Unknown, but probably koinobiont endoparasitoids of muscomorphan Diptera larvae based on the phylogenteic positioning of the genus in the Trichoplastini.


Buffington, M.L. 2012. Description of Nanocthulhu lovecrafti, a preternatural new genus and species of Trichoplastini (Figitidae: Eucoilinae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 114(1): 5-15.

Nielsen, M. & Buffington, M. 2011. Redescription of Stentorceps Quinlan, 1984 (Hymenoptera: Figitidae), with a description of five new species. African Entomology 19: 597–613.


Photographs and map illustration © Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum) or Matt Buffington (Systematic Entomology Laboratory, USDA/ARS)

Web author Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum)


Citation: van Noort, S. 2024. WaspWeb: Hymenoptera of the World. URL: www.waspweb.org (accessed on <day/month/year>).

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