Currently viewing the category: "Pelecinids"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unknown insect
Location:  Banks of the Potomac River in DC
July 24, 2010 9:27 am
Found this bug on the branch of a willow tree while having a picnic along the Potomac River in DC It has an abdomen similar to a dragonfly, two transparent wings and the head similar to a grasshopper. Any ideas???
Todd

American Pelecinid

Greetings Todd,
Your letter is the third identification request we responded to this week inquiring about the identity of the American Pelecinid,
Pelecinus polyturator, but the photos on the earlier two letters were blurry and of a general poor quality, unlike your stunning silhouette against the capital’s skyline.  The American Pelecinid is the only North American species in the genus and family, and it does range as far south as Argentina.  It resembles no other insect, so our identification of your silhouette should be undisputed.  It shows the female wasp, who uses her long abdomen to bury her eggs beneath the surface of the ground into the burrows of the grubs of June Beetles that are feeding on the roots of turf and grasses.  Interestingly, according to BugGuide:  “In North American populations, males are rare, and reproduction is apparently largely by parthenogenesis (Brues, 1928). In tropical populations (or species), males are more abundant.

Thanks Daniel, I was with my girlfriend who is a scientist at the National Zoo in DC and she assumed it was a type of wasp but neither of us had ever seen this insect. We appreciate your email. Feel free to post the picture! I will be using your site alot now that I have found it.
Todd

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Some sort of Dragonfly Species?
June 10, 2010
I was outside during mid afternoon doing some yard work, and out of the corner of my eye, this strange bug caught my attention. At first glance, it looked like a dragon fly, but it looked to odd to be one. It’s body appears to be much longer than a dragon fly. The body is also broken up into 5 segments and has what appears to be some type of stinger at the end of it’s body. It also kept arching it’s body up and down and you can see what I mean in the pictures. It was all black and had no distinctive markings or other colors. I also held it to get another good picture and from the head to the end of it’s tail was about 3 inches.
Buggy For Bugs
Detroit Michigan

American Pelecinid

Dear Buggy,
This is an American Pelecinid, the only member of its family in the continental U.S.  The American Pelecinid is a parasitoid wasp that preys upon the grubs of June Beetles that live underground.  Your specimen is a female and the female American Pelecinid uses her long jointed abdomen to lay an egg underground on or near a burrowing white beetle grub.  When the egg hatches, the larval Pelecinid feeds upon the grub.  We are presetting your letter to post live to our site between June 15 and June 23 as we will be in Ohio visiting mom for a week, and we want our readership to continue to get live daily postings in our absence.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Odd Dragonfly-like bug
The attached picture is of a flying bug we have seen several tiems in the last few weeks near Flint, Michigan. I’ve searched high and low and cannot figure out exactly what it is. It appears to be a type of dragonfly. Can you help? Thanks,
Tiffany

hi Tiffany,
This is an American Pelecinid, a non-stinging wasp relative that parasitizes June Beetle Grubs. The American Pelecinid is the only member of its family found in the U.S.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what’s this?
This bug is hanging out on my front patio in Lyons, Colorado. What is it?
Dan Greenberg
Lyons, CO

Hi Dan,
This is an American Pelecinid. The female uses her long abdomen to deposit eggs in the soil near burrowing June Beetle Grubs. The larval wasp then feeds on the beetle grubs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination