large wasp-type bug with long ‘tail’
November 17, 2009
This bug came in when we opened our back door one evening a few nights ago. Sorry, my husband squished it. The envelope it’s sitting on is a business-sized (10 inch) envelope for size reference. It’s very dark or black with a long jointed looking body, black wings and the really long tail that totally creeps me out.
Dear Scaredy Cat,
This is a female Giant Ichneumon, Megarhyssa atrata, and she is perfectly harmless. The tail, though it looks like a stinger, is actually an ovipositor. With her long ovipositor, the female Giant Ichneumon drills into diseased wood to lay an egg on the larva of a wood boring insect, the Pigeon Horntail.
after reading your site for over an hour the night that I posted, I learned the purpose of that long tail thingy. Wish we wouldn’t have squished her. It was fear-induced carnage. With 3 cats and 2 children she probably wouldn’t have lasted long anyway!
Thanks for responding and confirming what I found on your site. We also have great photos of a wooly caterpiller that looks like what the Japanese Monster Mothra was based upon. Can we just submit photos even when we know what the bug is?
You may submit photos, but please use our question form and provide your location. Also, please do not submit more than one species of insect per letter. We are very happy to hear you were able to make your identification without our assistance.