looks like a flying scorpion
September 7, 2009
this fly landed at my camp table over the weekend in the Adirondack region of NY. I thought it immediately looked like a flying scorpion and looked it up online. There are scorpionflies, but this one doesn’t resemble that. Any ideas?
perplexed in the north country
Long Lake, Adirondacks, NY
This is a parasitic Hymenopteran known as the American Pelecinid, Pelecinus polyturator. The pictured individual, like most individuals, is a female. The female American Pelecinid uses her long ovipositor to locate subterranean grubs from May Beetles and other Scarabs and lays an egg. The young wasp then feeds on the beetle grub, eventually killing it. Our new great obsession in the insect world is nonsexual reproduction, or parthenogenesis. The American Pelecinid males are quite rare, and most females reproduce without a mate. According to BugGuide: “In North American populations, males are rare, and reproduction is apparently largely by parthenogenesis (Brues, 1928). In tropical populations (or species), males are more abundant.“