Bug of the Month September 2011: Pigeon Horntail

Giant wasp with an extra stinger?
Location: Ontario, Canada
August 31, 2011 6:36 pm
Hello bugman! I found this GIANT wasp on my back deck hanging out on the wall. Take a look at the stinger area, there seems to be an extra stinger or something protruding from its bum! very bizarre, and I can’t find a picture like it anywhere! Hope you can help me find out what this is!
Signature: curious

Pigeon Horntail

Dear Curious,
What you have mistaken for a stinger is actually this female Pigeon Horntail‘s ovipositor.  She deposits her eggs beneath the bark of diseased and dead trees and the wood boring larvae help break down the wood as part of the complex decomposition process.  The larvae of the Pigeon Horntails are preyed upon by another frightening looking but harmless non-stinging relative of wasps, the Stump Stabber, a very colorful name for the Giant Ichneumon.

Pigeon Horntail

Wow, thats really neat!  Thanks for helping me identify my bug and making it bug of the month!  It looked terrifying, so I kept my distance.  Glad to know its harmless as I was a bit of a wimp while looking at it!  Thanks again

PIgeon Horntail

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