Parasitic Hymenopteran

Bug Id needed
Location: North Carolina, @ 15 miles west of I-95 and 10 miles south of Virginia border
November 19, 2011 5:36 pm
Hi Bugman,
We saw this beetle in the woods near Medoc, North Carolina (slightly south and west of Roanoke Rapids) sometime mid-November. It was on the underside of a fallen hickory-tree branch, I think. Please help me figure out what it is. Thank you!
Signature: Sanne King

Ichneumon, probably

Dear Sanne,
Your insect is not a beetle.  It is a Parasitic Hymenopteran, a group of wasps that parasitizes other insects and arthropods, usually by laying eggs that develop into internal parasites that kill the host insect, so they are important natural biological control agents.  We believe that this is most likely an Ichneumon (see BugGuide) or a Braconid (see BugGuide).  With few exceptions, this is a very difficult group to identify to the species level.

Greetings Daniel,
Thank you for your reply.  I am including a close-up of the little critter.  You’re right, and we weren’t sure it was a beetle, but it looked so solid at first.  The wings are quite opaque, and we didn’t notice any “wasp waist” or abdominal curvature.  It was keeping very flat on the leaf.  We’ve had no further luck in narrowing the species down.
Cheers, Sanne

There is no photo attached.

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