Subject: Longhorn Ant?
Location: Southern New Jersey
January 11, 2013 2:19 am
Ok, this one has me stumped. I spotted this inside the house on Nov. 25 and I cannot remember seeing anything similar to it before. I’m not even sure whether to call it an ant, ground wasp or other. The insect is about 1/2 inch long and walked in an ant-like fashion.
We deduced because of the stinger and the antennae that this was a female Parasitoid Wasp, most likely an Ichneumon, and we were correct. Upon researching, we matched your image to this photo of a Gelis species female on BugGuide. BugGuide notes that there are over 82 species in the genus in North America, and in our opinion, they look very much alike. BugGuide also notes: “Many species of Gelis are wingless. Habits are diverse. Many are external parasites of Lepidoptera in cocoons, others are parasitic on Symphyta, spiders, Diptera larvae and pupae, or wood-boring Coleoptera larvae. Many are Hyperparasites.” Ichneumons, Wasps and Ants are all in the same Order, Hymenoptera.
Thank you! I am familiar with Ichneumon at least by name, but I was unaware there were wingless varieties.