Crazy Mantis-Wasp Mix?
Location: Weiser, Idaho
September 3, 2010 11:39 pm
Hi Bugman! Hope you can help us. This strange wasp-thing was brought to me as the local wildlife rehabilitator in the hope I could identify it. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was aggressive and attempted to use its claw/mandibles to attack anything that came near. When not in use, the claws were folded by the head of the wasp. Ever seen one of these?
Signature: Gator in Idaho
Most of the images of a Wasp Mantidfly, Climaciella brunnea, that we have received in the past as well as the ones that are posted to BugGuide are darker, but we did find an image of a lighter one with markings similar to your specimen posted to BugGuide. A revealing dialog is posted there. First Paul Lenhart who posted the photo wrote: “If this is Climaciella brunnea this species has some amazing intraspecific variation taylored for the local paperwasp species. The individuals at our research station are great mimics of one locally common paper wasp species, Polistes comanchus.“ Then Virgiliu Marius Aurelian responded: “Yes, your specimen is indeed Climaciella brunnea. They have a huge range of variation and it seems this variation is highly dependent on the Polistes spp. they mimic in that particular region.” The information page on BugGuide indicates: “Large mantidfly, Batesian mimic of Polistes wasp.” Finally, we decided to research the most common Paper Wasps in Idaho, and according to a University of Idaho Extension publication online, it is “the Golden Paper Wasp, Polistes fuscatus aurifer, a yellow-reddish-brown wasp with yellow banding.” A photo on BugGuide of Polistes aurifer looks remarkably like your Wasp Mantidfly.