What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Stumpstabber – Megarhyssa sp.
Geographic location of the bug:  Sierra Nevada range route 88
Date: 06/23/2020
Time: 01:40 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My friend took this pic and because she knows my love of all things “bug” asked if I could find out anything about it.  Been doing some poking around and the  closest I could find was family Ichneunonidae Megarhyssa nortoni.  It’s quite striking in coloration.  Just wanted to share because I haven’t found a photo anywhere that matches
How you want your letter signed:  Terriann

Parasitic Wasp

Dear Terriann,
This is definitely a member of the superfamily Ichneumonoidea that includes the family Braconidae as well as the Ichneumon, and we believe this might be a Braconid, possibly in the genus
Atanycolus that is represented on BugGuide.  A definitive identification might not be possible as this is a huge superfamily with many unidentified members.  According to BugGuide:  “Next to impossible to identify this genus from images alone, however it is one of the more common genera in the subfamily. Identification of images on this guide page are NOT absolute! “

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: california

2 Responses to Ichneumon or Braconid???

  1. Terriann Tomlin says:

    I’m not certain this is a Braconid. The abdomen is flattened from side-to-side like Ophioninea sp. and I can see she is depositing eggs with her very long ovipositor like Megarhyssa sp. (also, the right habitat for that genus). As you say, impossible to determine without having her in hand (and we would never dream of killing her just to satisfy our scientific curiosity). I have scoured images on your site and Google finding many examples of similar specimens, but none with her quite lovely coloration. My field guide says of the Ichneumonid family: “If all the world’s species were known, it might well be the largest family of animals. Probably more than 1,000 species occur in California. All are parasites of insects or occasionally other arthropods. Therefore, their role in natural and man-effected communities is of enormous importance, and the majority are beneficial to man’s economy”.


    Also, check out this video from PBS our neighborhood entomology expert shared : https://www.pbs.org/video/wasp-deposits-parasitic-larvae-deep-inside-tree-trunk-tcv138/

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