Subject: Flying Scorpion? Panorpa nuptialis?
Location: Fort Collins, CO
August 22, 2014 2:30 pm
I found this yesterday in an old pot.
Live in Fort Collins, CO.
I am afraid I killed it, even though it bothered me to do so, but it looked somewhat dangerous!
Have never seen anything like this! A friend in Mexico sent me news of Panorpa nuptialis… “flying scorpion” but I am not sure it is enough similar…
This is an American Pelecinid, Pelecinus polyturator, the only member of its family in the continental United States. This parasitic wasp uses its long abdomen to deposit eggs underground in the proximity of Scarab Beetle Grubs which the larval wasps eat. American Pelecinids are not known to sting, but whenever we write that an insect is harmless, or not aggressive, someone writes in to dispute us. In our opinion, this beneficial insect was killed unnecessarily, and we are tagging the posting as Unnecessary Carnage and we hope that you will be understanding if you encounter another American Pelecinid. This is most definitely not a Scorpionfly, which is how Panorpa nuptialis is classified.
THANK YOU for this post, and for the education.
I am generally not squeamish around insects (having lived 17 years of my adult life in Mexico) and I sincerely regret falling into the “ew” category with this American Pelecinid. I was feeling mother bear I think…
Thank you so much for the identification which I will post around to try to atone for having lost this one!
Thanks for the good work you do