This is an email forwarded to me by my aunt who found this interesting species of wasp in her backyard…Any ideas???
I know you will think I’m being weirder than usual, but I happen to find all animals (even insects) very fascinating even the freaky ones!!
I was outside this am playing and cleaning up my Danes, then started cleaning the pool. I found this bug dead in one of the baskets. Talk about freaky!!!!!!!!!! Has anyone ever seen this or know what family of insects it is from? Its back-end is striped like a yellow jacket, but its huge!! It measures 3.5 cm from the tip of its tail to its mouth, and it has 2 different sets of wings, the back wings are clear with dark brown veins and are 2.5 cm long, and its front wings are dark brown/red and are 2 cm long but are shaped differently than its back. its long feelers/antennas are almost 3 cm long. and it has HUGE jaws (I think they are called mandibles) but science was a LONG time ago for me. It also appears to have a stinger out its back-end! WOE
~~~~ Debbie”

Hi Rachel and Debbie,
You found a Prionus which is a member of the Long Horned Borer Beetle family. These are among the largest beetles in California as well as other parts of the U.S. The grubs bore into the roots of Oaks, Madrone, Cottonwoods and some Fruit Trees. They will also feed on Eucalyptus. Adults emerge in summer and are often attracted to lights, which might explain its drowned presence in the pool.

Ed. Note: We just recieved this information.
(08/09/2005) identificationsHello – I was recently shown your site, and it is excellent. My specialization is longhorned beetles, and in cruising around I notice a number of incomplete or uncertain IDs for this family. I don’t know if you are interested in receiving this sort of input, but if you are, I offer the following additions to your identifications.
The beetle pictured is Prionus (Neopolyarthron) imbricornis (or much less likely, P. (N.) debilis; that level of detail is lacking in the photo), but with that many antennal segments, cannot be either of the two Californian Prionus (Prionus) species. Cheers.
Frank Hovore

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