Currently viewing the category: "Braconids and Chalcids"

Subject:  Unknown hymenopteran
Geographic location of the bug:  south eastern PA
Date: 07/10/2018
Time: 04:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello. I am the plant protection intern at Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania and our arborist saw this insect fly out of a diseased Juniper. Can you please help me to ID it? I am sorry that he removed the insect’s head. I took this video because it is still moving.
Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  Jenny

Braconid, we believe

Hi Jenny,
Because of the coloration, what appears to be a long ovipositor at the tip of the abdomen, and the written description that it emerged from a diseased juniper, we believe this is a Braconid, a parasitoid Hymenopteran in the family Braconidae, which is well represented on BugGuide.  We have an old posting of Braconids swarming on a grape trunk in California, and at that time, Eric Eaton noted “so few braconids are parasitic on wood borers.”  We also have this UK sighting in our archives that we believe to be in the genus
Atanycolus.  That genus is represented on BugGuide where it states:  “Parasites of woodboring beetle larvae, especially metallic wood-boring beetles (Buprestidae) and longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae).”  Since your juniper is diseased, it is probably infested with wood boring beetle larvae, the natural prey for parasitoid Braconids in the genus Atanycolus, so your arborist seems to have decapitated a beneficial predator and part of the solution, and not the cause of the problem for the tree, which is why we will be tagging the posting as Unnecessary Carnage.  If the tree does have a bad infestation of borer grubs, you might see additional Braconids emerge.  The female Braconid uses her ovipositor to deposit eggs beneath the bark of an infested tree or other woody plant, and the hatched larvae feed on the larvae of the beetles.  Adults emerge after pupation, so it is an understandable mistake to believe the Braconid is a harmful insect when it emerges from the tree.  We hope the information we provided will score you a few extra intern points.  

Great. Thank you so much for the very detailed response. It was sad to see that a good insect was decapitated, although it was an honest mistake. I was not there when it happened 🙁 I realized that my post still said video, even though I sent a picture. I was unable to upload the video file to the site because it was too large, but I have attached it here. It is very unsettling, especially when the poor wasp’s wings move.

Braconid Wasp

Thanks Jenny,
We were able to get a better still from the video to illustrate the posting.

Subject:  Red Bodied Winged Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Clearwater Florida
Date: 09/27/2017
Time: 11:32 AM EDT
Hi Bugman Saw this bug in Clearwater Florida. It’s a really Cool! looking bug. If you have the time – Would you Please identify for me. Thank You Very Much! Brent
How you want your letter signed:  Brent Hansen

Braconid: Bracon species

Dear Brent,
Your images are both gorgeous and perfect for attempting an identification:  dorsal and ventral views.  We must also confess that we identified your Braconid Wasp early this morning, but the time clock began ringing.  Your pretty female, as evidenced by her lengthy ovipositor, looks to us like this member of the genus
Bracon that is pictured on BugGuide.

Braconid: Bracon species

Hi Daniel Thank You Very Much!!! for the compliment and for your quick response and identification. Have a Great Day! Brent

Subject:  Looks like a Rose Sawfly BUT…….
Geographic location of the bug:  Five Ashes, East Sussex, UK
Date: 08/29/2017
Time: 03:21 AM EDT
I, at first, thought this must be an Ichneumon wasp because of what appears to be very long antennae and ovipositor, but the coloration exactly matches a Rose Sawfly. Any help gratefully received.
How you want your letter signed:  Nigel Horsley

Braconid Wasp

Dear Nigel,
This is definitely a parasitoid, not a Sawfly.  We suspect it is a Braconid, a family closely related to the Ichneumons.  Here is an Alchetron page with some similar looking Braconids, and Alamy has a nice image.  We are reluctant to speculate on a species, but if you find out any additional information, please give us an update.

Many thanks Daniel.  You are totally on the right track.  I now think it’s likely to be Atanycolus sp.
Best wishes, Nigel.

Subject: Identify
Location: Memphis TN
July 24, 2017 8:57 pm
These were in my friends house and we don’t know what they are. Ranged in size from an ant to a large housefly.
Signature: Kim Hicks

Chalcidid Wasps

Dear Kim,
These look like parasitoid Chalcid Wasps to us, but upon researching that possibility, we learned on BugGuide that:  “The terms ‘chalcid’ and ‘chalcid wasp’ typically refer to the whole superfamily Chalcidoidea, so it is best to use ‘chalcidid’ when specifically referring to this family.”  Following that advice, we believe this is a Chalcidid Wasp.  According to BugGuide:  “hosts: mostly Lepidoptera and Diptera, though a few attack Hymenoptera, Coleoptera or Neuroptera(1). Parasites of Lepidoptera usually attack young pupae, while those of Diptera attack mature larvae.

Chalcidid Wasp

Subject: assassin? wasp?
Location: Bethesda, MD
July 13, 2017 7:22 am
Found this on my potted hosta in Bethesda Maryland, July 2017.
I took the photos myself.
I’m downloading a couple of images, but the edited images at this link to my blog are much better:
Signature: Margaret Soltan

Braconid Wasp

Dear Margaret,
This beautiful creature is a parasitoid Braconid Wasp, and we believe it is
Atanycoius longicauda based on this BugGuide image.  BugGuide states of the genus:  “Parasites of woodboring beetle larvae, especially metallic wood-boring beetles (Buprestidae) and longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae).”

Braconid Wasp

Daniel:  Thank you!  I appreciate the identification (I’ve spent fruitless hours looking at images), and I really appreciate the quick reply.   And I’m glad you agree it’s beautiful.
All best, Margaret

Subject: identify bug
Location: cuernavaca, morelos, mexico
February 2, 2017 10:42 pm
Hello bugman,
I am a biology teacher in Mexico and my kids found this bug. I am pretty sure it will turn into a butterfly or a moth, ad would like to identify it to make a case kid my students. Please help!
Thank you
Signature: Teacher Nadine

Parasitized Caterpillar

Dear Teacher Nadine,
We are not certain if this is a Brushfooted Butterfly Caterpillar in the family Nymphalidae or an early instar Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar in the family Saturniidae, but we can tell you for certain it will not turn into either a butterfly or a moth as it has been attacked by a Parasitic Wasp that laid eggs upon it.  The eggs hatched and the larval wasps feed on the internal organs, then emerged and pupated on the Caterpillar’s body.  The wasp pupae are the white rice-like objects visible in your images.  This caterpillar will die before reaching maturity.  We will attempt to get a more definitive caterpillar identification from Keith Wolfe.

Parasitized Caterpillar

Keith Wolfe Responds
Dear Teacher Nadine and Professor Bugman,
Yes, this is an unfortunate immature saturniid, POSSIBLY in the genus Hylesia (sorry, moth caterpillars are not my forte).
Best wishes,