Unknown insect
Location:  Banks of the Potomac River in DC
July 24, 2010 9:27 am
Found this bug on the branch of a willow tree while having a picnic along the Potomac River in DC It has an abdomen similar to a dragonfly, two transparent wings and the head similar to a grasshopper. Any ideas???

American Pelecinid

Greetings Todd,
Your letter is the third identification request we responded to this week inquiring about the identity of the American Pelecinid,
Pelecinus polyturator, but the photos on the earlier two letters were blurry and of a general poor quality, unlike your stunning silhouette against the capital’s skyline.  The American Pelecinid is the only North American species in the genus and family, and it does range as far south as Argentina.  It resembles no other insect, so our identification of your silhouette should be undisputed.  It shows the female wasp, who uses her long abdomen to bury her eggs beneath the surface of the ground into the burrows of the grubs of June Beetles that are feeding on the roots of turf and grasses.  Interestingly, 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.

Thanks Daniel, I was with my girlfriend who is a scientist at the National Zoo in DC and she assumed it was a type of wasp but neither of us had ever seen this insect. We appreciate your email. Feel free to post the picture! I will be using your site alot now that I have found it.

Location: Washington DC

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