If you look from afar, it looks like the Pelecinids have a huge stinger. So, do American Pelecinid wasps sting? Let’s find out!
The American pelecinid wasp belongs to the family Pelecinidae and is a new world wasp. This little insect can appear to be scary with its long, curled, stinger-like organ.
But in reality, it’s a curled abdomen and not a stinger.
American pelecinid wasps don’t sting. Their curled abdomen acts like a faux stinger when ambushed or attacked, as they may simply jab it against the predator.
However, these insects are not poisonous and will not sting.
What Are American Pelecinid Wasps?
American pelecinid wasps are parasitoid wasps belonging to the superfamily of Proctotrupoidea and Pelecinidae. They are the only species to fall under the genus Pelecinus.
Parasitoids should not be confused with parasites. They’re somewhere between parasites and predators.
While parasites keep their host alive, parasitoids kill the host tissue to survive.
An interesting point of information is that most of the APW population occurring in North America is female.
Male APWs are almost non-existent. Female wasps do not need a mate to reproduce.
They breed through a method called parthenogenesis, where eggs do not need to be fertilized to develop an embryo.
What Do They Look Like?
The American pelecinid wasps (APWs henceforth) are black in color, thin, and have a glossy appearance with very long antennae.
While female APW grows up to two and a half inches in size, the male adult wasp grows only upto an inch.
A distinct thing about their appearance is their long, curled abdomen that looks like a stinger or a tail.
Despite their relatively small size, the abdomen of female wasps is almost five times their body size.
They use this to deposit eggs directly on the host. The abdomen of male wasps is shorter than that of females. APWs also have short wings and are slow flyers.
Where Are They Found?
Geographically, APWs are widespread across North America as well as Central and South America.
In the North, they are spotted across the eastern states and east of the Rocky Mountains. They’re also commonly found in Canada and Argentina.
As far as their habitat is concerned, these shiny black wasps inhabit open fields, grasslands, forest edges, woodlands, and gardens. They’re usually found on the forest floor as they tend to fly closer to the ground. APWs are also found in deciduous forests.
What Do They Eat?
The adult wasp feeds on pollen, nectar, and water. This is why you will often notice APWs inside flowers and in gardens. They’re a herbivore species of wasps.
Their larvae, however, are parasitoids and feed on their host. When it’s time to lay eggs, female wasps will fly close to the ground and lay the egg on June beetle larvae, i.e., white grubs.
They do so with the help of their curved abdomen.
Once the larva hatches, it feeds on the grub until it dies. At this point, the immature wasp will continue to feed on the grub tissue till it pupates in the same soil.
Are American Pelecinid Wasps Dangerous?
American pelecinid wasps are not dangerous as far as species of wasps go. Their appearance is scary with their curled black abdomens that look like a long stinger.
But these are harmless wasps.
Adult APWs are herbivores and live on a pollen, nectar, and water diet.
Do They Sting/Bite?
As discussed above, American pelecinid wasps do not have stingers. They have a curled abdomen used to deposit eggs and act as faux stingers to scare predators.
At most, they may use the abdomen to push a predator or threat away. But beyond that, they are not capable of biting or stinging.
Are They Poisonous Venomous?
No, American pelecinid wasps are not poisonous or venomous. Their abdomen is actually the long, narrow organ resembling a stinger or a tail.
And since they have no proper stinger, there is no way for them to deposit any kind of poison or venom.
Are American Pelecinid Wasps Beneficial?
American pelecinid wasps play a dual ecological role in the environment. One is controlling insect pest populations carried out by the wasp larvae.
Second, they play the role of pollinators once they mature into adult wasps.
Let’s take a more detailed look at these two roles.
American pelecinid wasps are beneficial in controlling the populations of June beetles.
The white beetle grubs feed on the roots of plants and can pose potential issues in the crop and grass systems.
The female wasps track down the white grubs of June beetles and lay their eggs on them.
The pelecinid wasp larvae are parasitoids that feed on the exoskeleton of the beetle grubs and feed on it till it dies.
And it’s not limited to June beetles. Parasitoid wasps are essential in naturally controlling the population of insect pests.
They lay eggs on top of arthropods and cause their death by feeding on them.
In their second role as pollinators, once the larvae mature into adult wasps, they step into their essential role in pollination, like bees and butterflies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Pelecinus polyturator bite?
American Pelecinid Wasps do not generally bite humans, and they even appear to avoid human disturbance.
However, they will bite if they feel threatened or come into contact with skin. Their venom is not deadly, although it can cause discomfort and swelling.
It is best to leave them alone if you spot them around your home, as they are beneficial creatures that help reduce garden pests.
Where is the American Pelecinid wasp found?
The American Pelecinid wasp is found in most parts of the United States and Canada, as well as parts of Mexico and Central America.
It prefers dry, arid regions with little vegetation or water. In particular, it is commonly found in desert-like environments such as cactus-rich areas, roadsides, and urban centers.
This species of wasp is part of the spider wasp family and can be identified by its black body and long abdomen, which looks like a stinger.
What is a scorpion wasp?
Scorpion wasps are a family of insects well known for their spectacular morphological structure, with the ability to paralyze or even kill their prey before eating it.
These wasps have venomous barbed stingers and vary in size from 10-45 mm long. They come in a range of colors, from black to yellow and red, depending on the species.
The larvae feed on paralyzed arthropods that are brought back to the nest by their mothers.
Adult wasps feed mainly on flower nectar and are important pollinators within their ecosystems.
What does a scorpion wasp look like?
The scorpion wasp is a metallic black or blue colored, medium-sized insect with some yellow markings.
Its wings are long and narrow, and it typically measures about one inch in length.
It has two long, curved antennae as well as two pairs of short and stout legs which give it the appearance of a small crab or crayfish.
Its most notable feature is its large stinger located near the end of its body which can be used to paralyze prey before consuming them.
The scorpion wasp is an impressive and remarkable species.
American pelecinid wasps are a harmless species of wasps. They have a long narrow organ that looks like a stinger but is an elongated abdomen.
The females use the curled abdomen to lay eggs during the breeding season.
In the absence of a proper stinger, these wasps are not capable of biting or stinging.
American Pelecinids look quite scary from afar, as you can see from the several emails we have received from our readers over the years.
But a closer inspection tells us that they are quite harmless, and actually beneficial to us.
Do go through the email to understand why people are so scared of them!
Letter 1 – American Pelecinid
Hello, Thank you for all your hard work! My 6yr old Jenna and myself spend alot of time here, especially since we’ve moved back to “Buggy old Michigan” as Jenna says. Our question today is regarding this flying buggy that looks to me like a dragonfly with a scorpioin like tail that appears to have a stinger (created much controversy in our neighborhood of bugs to beware)??? We are very curious as the population of these guys is increasing this month. Thanks Again
Jenna and Shelly
Hi Jenna and Shelly,
The population explosion of the American Pelecinid might be a good thing. These non-stinging relatives of wasps use that long ovipositor to lay eggs underground in the burrows of beetle grubs. The grubs are parasitized. There might be a future population explosion of destructive June Beetles if you kill the Pelecinids. Pelecinids are totally harmless.
Letter 2 – American Pelecinid
What’s this Bug?
I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of insect this is in these pictures?
Thanks in advance
The female American Pelecinid uses that odd shaped abdomen to deposit eggs deep in the ground where the larval food, May Beetle grubs can be found. The adult drinks nectar. Males are very rare. This is the only North American species in the Family Pelecinidae.
Letter 3 – American Pelecinid
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,
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.
Letter 4 – American Pelecinid
Glad I found your site. Checked every I.D source available ( except yours ) to no avail. I suspect this bug is not of this world. Can you help?. It was sitting on a car bumper at my cottage 60 miles North of Montreal on a hot summer day. The body was about 1 1/2 inch long and the tail another two or three! Plus how does that thing fly?. Thanks for your help.
Regards Bob Alie
This is an American Pelecinid, Pelecinus polyturator, a parasitic wasp and the only North American species in the family. The female, and your specimen is a female, inserts her long abdomen into the ground to lay eggs on burrowing scarab beetle grubs that will provide food for her progeny. She flies with the use of her wings.
Letter 5 – American Pelecinid
Curled up tail and wings
Sat, May 9, 2009 at 5:57 PM
This bug was found outside, in the twin cities metro are of Minnesota. The size of the bug was rather small, a few centimeters. I hope the image is good enough for you to see and hopefully figure out what it is.
The very unique American Pelecinid, Pelecinus polyturator, is not likely to be confused with any other North American insect. Your specimen is a female, and she uses her unusual abdomen to parasitize the grubs of scarab beetles. According to BugGuide: “Parasitoids of insect larvae that feed on decomposing wood, etc. These include larvae of scarab beetles, esp. May Beetles ( Phyllophaga ). Also reported to parasitize wood-boring insects. Female thrusts ovipositor into soil to detect host, lays one egg on each. Pelecinid larva burrows into the beetle larva, killing it. Wasp larva scavenges remains and pupates there in soil. ” BugGuide also indicates this surprising information: “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.” Lastly, BugGuide also states: “Typically August-September. Reported July-August (Minnesota), June-September (North Carolina)” which could make this early sighting another indication of global warming. Insects are often quite adaptable, and changes in their habit force them to adjust quickly as their life cycles are generally less than a year.
Letter 6 – American Pelecinid
looks like a flying scorpion
September 7, 2009
this fly landed at my camp table over the weekend in the Adirondack region of NY. I thought it immediately looked like a flying scorpion and looked it up online. There are scorpionflies, but this one doesn’t resemble that. Any ideas?
perplexed in the north country
Long Lake, Adirondacks, NY
This is a parasitic Hymenopteran known as the American Pelecinid, Pelecinus polyturator. The pictured individual, like most individuals, is a female. The female American Pelecinid uses her long ovipositor to locate subterranean grubs from May Beetles and other Scarabs and lays an egg. The young wasp then feeds on the beetle grub, eventually killing it. Our new great obsession in the insect world is nonsexual reproduction, or parthenogenesis. The American Pelecinid males are quite rare, and most females reproduce without a mate. 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.“
Letter 7 – American Pelecinid
Winged black bug with 2 inch hook-like thing
September 14, 2009
I awoke this morning, and on my window screen I found this bug. It’s about 3 inches long, and black. It has a long, hooked appendage below its wings. It’s 6 segments, but possibly 7. The very tip is at an angle, but it’s only a millimeter or two, so I’m not sure if it’s another segment or just the end of the 6th. I’m not sure if it’s some type of stinger, because although the end is tapered, it doesn’t look very sharp. I found it at about 10:00 AM in Fargo, North Dakota today, so during the end of summer and fall is when this picture is from.
Scary Bug Girl
Fargo, North Dakota
Dear Scary Bug Girl,
This nonstinging wasp relative is an American Pelecinid. Its profile is very distinctive. The female of the species (your individual is a female) uses her long abdomen to deposit eggs underground near burrowing May Beetle Grubs that her larvae will feed upon. We love your photograph.
Letter 8 – American Pelecinid
Long scorpion like tail.
September 20, 2009
This picture taken today, September 20, 2009 in the Northern reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Iron River.
I think it is some sort of a wood borer that uses it’s long segmented tail to burrow deep under the bark of a tree and lay it’s eggs.
During the first attempt to take a picture of this bug it flew off but thankfully it is not a fast flyer and landed only a few yards from where it began.
Iron River, MI
We have posted several images of the American Pelecinid recently, but your photo shows the most detail. The female of the species, which is represented in your photograph, uses her long abdomen to lay her eggs underground near burrowing grubs of May Beetles. The larvae of the American Pelecinid then parasitize the beetle grubs.
Letter 9 – American Pelecinid
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
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.
Thank you for the fast response! It was most certainly an interesting bug and never have I seen that before. I was also surprised to learn that the American Pelecinid is part of the wasp family.
Letter 10 – American Pelecinid
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???
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.
Letter 11 – American Pelecinid
What is this bug?
Location: Madison, Maine
August 7, 2010 12:01 pm
Hi, I am in Maine and have an outside light on my garage. In the mornings, I find many interesting bugs, however, this one is very unusual to me.
This very distinctive insect is a Parasitoid Hymenopteran known as an American Pelecinid. Your individual is a female, and she uses her flexible abdomen to lay eggs underground where they can parasitize the grubs of June Beetles.
Letter 12 – American Pelecinid
Dragonfly looking insect, with inverted scorpion tail
Location: Lakewood, CO
August 12, 2010 3:59 am
Hi, I live in Colorado, and came home to find an all black, skinny insect. This bug, looks like a dragonfly, with a long, skinny, inverted, segmented scorpion-like tail, the mid and hind legs, looked like the bug has big calves, the wings were a see-through black, the head was small, with a larger thorax, 3 sets of legs, and two antennae.
Dear Creepily awaitng,
This is a parasitoid wasp known as an American Pelecinid that preys upon the subterranean grubs of June Beetles.
Letter 13 – American Pelecinid
Black Bug with Scorpion-like Tail
Location: Delevan, NY (Western end of NY)
September 11, 2010 8:10 pm
Just wondering if you can identify this bug! I’ve never seen anything like it…
First we want to compliment you on the quality and detail in your photograph. This is an American Pelecinid, the only member of its family native to North America. This Parasitoid Wasp is a female and she uses her long abdomen to deposit her eggs underground near the burrows of June Beetle Grubs that are feeding on roots. The wasp larvae feed on the beetle grubs. It is unlikely that the American Pelecinid will ever be confused with another North American insect because it is so distinctive in its shape.
Letter 14 – American Pelecinid
Subject: Strange bug
Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
August 4, 2012 11:31 pm
Hi, I have never taken a photo of a bug before but this one was something I have never seen before. This bug was walking on my car on a cool summer day (August 4, 2012) in Grand Forks, North Dakota. We never have ”strange” bugs here because of the harsh winters (I think) so when I saw this I guess I kind of freaked out.
Signature: Mrs. Reiser
Dear Mrs. Reiser,
This is a female American Pelecinid, and your description of it being “strange” is very appropriate since it is the only member of its family found in North America. The female American Pelecinid uses her long, flexible abdomen to lay eggs underground on or close to the subterranean grubs of June Beetles. The American Pelecinid is classified as a parasitic Hymenopteran, an insect order that contains wasps and bees, however the American Pelecinid does not sting and is not a threat to humans.
Letter 15 – American Pelecinid
Please tell me what this bug is
I retain rights to this image.
We are posting your image, but we are a non profit site and will not reproduce it in any future publications. Your Odd Looking Wasp is Pelecinus polyturator, a large and striking insect. According to Borror and Delong: “The female is 2 inches or more in length, shining black, with the abdomen very long and slender; the male, which is extremely rare in this country, is about an inch long and has the posterior part of the abdomen swollen. The females do not sting. this insect is parasitic on the larvae of June Beetles.” Our Audubon Guide also adds: “Female shoves its abdomen deep into soil to detect host larvae below, then lays eggs one at a time, each on a separate host. Pelecinid larvae burrow into hosts, killing them. They scavange on remains.”
Letter 16 – American Pelecinid
same bug, white background
Hi Bugman. My bug friend, or one of its friends, has returned. This photo shows the bug against a white background, so maybe that will help. Thank you again.
First, we cannot locate your original letter, so we don’t know what other information you provided. This is an American Pelecinid, a relative of wasps and hornets that does not sting. Your specimen is a female. She thrusts her long abdomen into the ground to lay eggs on May Beetles and other scarabs. This is the only member of the family in North America.
Letter 17 – American Pelecinid
Bug for you.
I’m about 1 hour north or Toronto, Ontario, and saw this bug around Mid August. Someone told me it was a “Ichneumon”, but from the ones on your site, it did not quite look the same. Can you confirm for me?
The American Pelecinid is grouped with the wasps within the order Hymenoptera. The larval Pelecinids feed on June Beetle Grubs.
Letter 18 – American Pelecinid
help identify this fly please!
Fly was photographed in Northern Minnesota. Never seen anything like it before. Thanks!
This non-stinging wasp relative is known as the American Pelecinid.
Letter 19 – American Pelecinid
What’s this bug?
This bug came flying out of the blackness of the night and attacked me. I am not normally afraid of bugs but this thing freaked me out and I flicked it away and it flew into my friends basement. We managed to sneak up on it and take some pictures of it. We have been searching around on the internet to try and figure out what it is but we haven’t found anything very conclusive, the closest resemblance we have found are pictures of Ichneumon but their tails don’t look as mean as this things tail. It’s tail looks more like a scorpion tail and the Ichneumon tails look thinner like antennae or something. It is hard to tell from the pictures but it is about 2-3 inches long including its tail. We live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. If you can look at the attached pics and let us know it would be greatly appreciated.Thanks in advance.
The female American Pelecinid is harmless. She uses her long abdomen to parasitize subterranean June Beetle Grubs by thrusting it into the ground and laying eggs when she locates a grub. These are non-stinging relatives of the wasps.
Letter 20 – American Pelecinid
4 great iPhotos
I am very curious to know what this beautiful insect is called. I have been searching your site and the closest thing that resembled “my” insect was a photo of a broad winged damselfly. These two insects look very similar but, upon closer inspection, also very different. I live in Prince Edward Island, Canada. This insect was very content to sit on my hand and groom himself for quite sometime and did not mind being handled at all! If you get a chance, please help me out in identifying this shiny black bug. Thank you,
We do believe this is the most beautiful image of an American Pelecinid we have ever received. This is a non-stinging relative of wasps that uses its long flexible abdomen to lay eggs underground where the larval food source, beetle grubs, live. By the way, your insect is a female.
Letter 21 – American Pelecinid
This bug is hanging out on my front patio in Lyons, Colorado. What is it?
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.
Letter 22 – American Pelecinid
Crazy winged insect
Location: Central New York
August 18, 2011 2:18 pm
Please help me identify this bug. Thank you so much for your time. Your website is great. I love clicking around. Thanks again.
This is the first photo we have received of the distinctive American Pelecinid this year. It is the only member of its family in the U.S.. She is equipped with a long jointed abdomen that can locate the grubs of June Beetles underground. She lays an egg on each grub she locates and the larval wasp feeds parasitically on a living creature until it is dead. The American Pelecinid larva then pupates among the remains of the grub in the underground chamber the Scarab grub has created for feeding on the roots of grasses.
Letter 23 – American Pelecinid
Scorpion like but it flies
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
September 6, 2011 7:56 pm
One on the wood for our fencing in my very own backyard – yuck – the other on the window of a fastfood restaurant in a complete opposite side of the city! People think I find all the creepy critters – I’m curious what it could be – at first I thought dragonfly nymph – but not even close!!
Signature: Thanks so much! Sherrill Jamnmom
Dear Sherrill Jamnmom,
The unforgettable American Pelecinid female uses her long, segmented abdomen to locate and parasitize the larval grubs of May Beetles.
Thank u Daniel! That was a quick response and im pleased to know what she is!! I will do more research on her too. You have me started! 🙂
Letter 24 – American Pelecinid
Location: Central Michigan
July 27, 2012 10:33 pm
A quick survey brought some suggestions… one of which was an ichneumon wasp. Are we right? This guy landed of the window of our business after a nasty hail storm today in Six Lakes, Michigan.
Ichneumon Wasp is a good guess, but not correct. This American Pelecinid is the only member of its family found in North America, and like the Ichneumon, it is a parasitic Hymenopteran. The female uses her long abdomen to deposit eggs underground and the larvae feed upon the grubs of June Beetles.
Letter 25 – American Pelecinid
Location: broken bow, oklahoma
October 21, 2013 6:35 am
I found this bug outside my garage window. I trapped it in a glass bowl. After taking a photo I let it go. I have not been able to find out what it is and I was hoping you could.
Signature: Christian Tyler Short
This is a very excellent photo for identification purposes. This is a female American Pelecinid, a parasitic wasp that pushes its long abdomen into the ground to lay eggs on the grubs of Scarab Beetles. The beetle grub provides food for the developing American Pelecinid larva.
Letter 26 – American Pelecinid
Subject: Flying Scorpion? Panorpa nuptialis?
Location: Fort Collins, CO
August 22, 2014 2:30 pm
I found this yesterday in an old pot.
Live in Fort Collins, CO.
I am afraid I killed it, even though it bothered me to do so, but it looked somewhat dangerous!
Have never seen anything like this! A friend in Mexico sent me news of Panorpa nuptialis… “flying scorpion” but I am not sure it is enough similar…
This is an American Pelecinid, Pelecinus polyturator, the only member of its family in the continental United States. This parasitic wasp uses its long abdomen to deposit eggs underground in the proximity of Scarab Beetle Grubs which the larval wasps eat. American Pelecinids are not known to sting, but whenever we write that an insect is harmless, or not aggressive, someone writes in to dispute us. In our opinion, this beneficial insect was killed unnecessarily, and we are tagging the posting as Unnecessary Carnage and we hope that you will be understanding if you encounter another American Pelecinid. This is most definitely not a Scorpionfly, which is how Panorpa nuptialis is classified.
THANK YOU for this post, and for the education.
I am generally not squeamish around insects (having lived 17 years of my adult life in Mexico) and I sincerely regret falling into the “ew” category with this American Pelecinid. I was feeling mother bear I think…
Thank you so much for the identification which I will post around to try to atone for having lost this one!
Thanks for the good work you do
Letter 27 – American Pelecinid
Subject: At lake george
Location: Lake george, NY
August 9, 2015 6:29 am
I saw this at lake george area. Does not look like a scorpionfly . Never seen these in pictures either
This is an American Pelecinid, a parasitic wasp that uses its long abdomen to lay eggs on or near subterranean Scarab Beetle Larvae which serve as food for the developing Pelecinid larva.
Letter 28 – American Pelecinid
Subject: Flying stinger bug
Location: Denver Colorado
August 18, 2017 12:31 pm
Hi what kind of bug is this??
Comments on American Pelecinid postings on our site are up this year, but your image of an American Pelecinid is the first submission we have received in quite some time of this harmless, parasitoid that preys upon the grubs of June Beetles.
Letter 29 – American Pelecinid
Subject: American Pelicinid
Geographic location of the bug: Piseco, New York (Adirondack Mtns)
Time: 09:11 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Just thought I’d post a pic of am AP that land on my hat today. Very friendly—crawled up and down my arm, and investigated my pulled pork sandwich.
How you want your letter signed: Dexter Ford
Thanks for submitting your awesome image of an American Pelecinid.
Letter 30 – American Pelecinid in Canada
Subject : Alien Bug
Geographic location of the bug: Ottawa
Time: 09:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Looks out of this world!
Can anyone identify?
About 2″ long I think
How you want your letter signed: UFO’s are real 😉
This is an American Pelecinid, a species of parasitic wasp that preys upon the larvae of June Beetles. The female American Pelecinid inserts her long abdomen into the dirt when she locates a Scarab Beetle grub feeding underground. The Wasp eggs hatches and the larval Wasp feeds on the Beetle grub.
Wow! Never thought anyone was going to reply. Thanks for identifying. Ottawa is close to NY state – makes sense. Thought I found a rare bug! Well, TY and keep up the good work!
Letter 31 – Pelecinid from Bolivia
Bug from Bolivia
January 10, 2010
Photo taken last week in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
A bunch of curious people!
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Dear bunch of curious people,
This is a member of the wasp relative in the family Pelecinidae. There is a single North American species, Pelecinus polyturator, and according to BugGuide, it ranges as far south as Argentina. This may be Pelecinus polyturator, or a closely related species. Pelecinus polyturator is a parasitoid that preys upon the subterranean grubs of May Beetles. Your photo depicts a female who uses her long jointed abdomen to deposit eggs beneath the surface of the soil when she locates a beetle grub that will provide food for one of her spawn.
Letter 32 – Pelecinid from Ecuador
Subject: Please can you help me to identify this?
Location: South América Ecuador Pichincha near LLoa “town”
August 12, 2015 9:54 pm
Hi thank you so much for reading this. I was wondering if you. can help me with this. I found this by a river in South América it was found in LLoa about 30 minutes from Quito the capital city of Ecuador. It was found on the. higlands at about 3000meters near the rainforest.
Signature: Ecuador identification
This is a Pelecinid, a parasitic wasp in the family Pelecinidae, and it is the first example we have ever received from outside North America. According to BugGuide: “One North American genus with only one species: Pelecinus polyturator Drury 1773. Worldwide, there is only one extant genus, Pelecinus, with three recognized species (Johnson and Musetti, 1999):
Pelecinus polyturator (North America, Central America, South America)
Pelecinus thoracicus (western Mexico)
Pelecinus dichrous (South America)
The family was much more diverse during the Mesozoic era (Beetles in the Bush).”
We are not certain which of the South American species your individual represents. Pelecinids prey upon the subterranean larvae of Scarab Beetles, and the female uses her long, flexible abdomen to lay eggs underground in proximity to the Scarab larva. Beetles in the Bush has a very nice posting on the genus with this information: “Pelecinus polyturator is the only North American member of the family Pelecinidae, which itself contains only two additional species that are restricted to Mexico and Central/South America. It wasn’t always this way—fossils assignable to the family and representing 43 species in a dozen genera have been found as far back as the early Cretaceous (121–124 mya) across North America, Europe, and Asia (Grimaldi & Engel 2005). Surely this represents just the tip of the iceberg of Mesozoic and early Cenozoic pelecinid diversity, making today’s three species the last representatives of a once great lineage—’living fossils’ some might say.”
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Letter 33 – American Pelenicid
Scorpion-tailed wasp thing?
My fiancee and I came across this interesting looking bug in Frozen Head State Park, which is in the town of Wartburg, Tennessee (eastern TN.) It didn’t move for quite a long time, though it was alive.
This amazing creature is an American Pelecinid. It is related to wasps, but does not sting. Your specimen is a female. She uses her long abdomen as an ovipositor to place eggs underground on beetle grubs. The larvae parasitize the grubs of June Beetles.
Letter 34 – American Pelicinid
Subject: Wasp with quite a tail!
Location: Waynesville, NC
August 24, 2017 6:35 am
Hey bug folks! I saw this cool wasp while enjoying the eclipse on the blue ridge parkway near Waynesville NC. I’ve never seen one with such an elaborate tail and figured you all could tell me more!
Signature: Thanks, Mike
This is an American Pelecinid, Pelecinus polyturator, the only member of its family in North America, according to BugGuide where it states: “One North American genus with only one species.” We have gotten numerous comments submitted this year reporting sightings. This is a female American Pelecinid. The male has a much smaller abdomen. The female uses her long abdomen to lay eggs underground where her young will parasitize Scarab Beetle Grubs.