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  • American Pelecinid Wasp - (Pelecinus polyturator)

    American Pelecinid Wasp - (Pelecinus polyturator)

    The Pelecinid Wasp make look like a small alien and evoke anxiety on sight, but it is actually a useful parasite that naturally controls beetle numbers.

    Staff Writer (5/17/2017): The long abdomen ('tail') of the female invokes trepidation among humans, but its primary purpose is not to sting. It is actually used to deposit eggs onto the backs of grubs living underground. She pokes deep into the soil until she hits one. She then lays one egg on it and moves on. When the egg hatches, the wasp larva will then burrow into the helpless grub and eat it from the inside out.

    The male has a shorter abdomen with a swollen tip. They are rarely seen. Females have bulging legs in addition to the extremely long and thin abdomen.

    Adults feed on nectar from garden plants, woods and other areas. They are low fliers, staying close to the ground and sometimes are spotted perched on low growing shrubs or plants.

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    Details of the:
    American Pelecinid Wasp

    Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
    Common name: American Pelecinid Wasp
    Scientific Name: Pelecinus polyturator

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Hymenoptera
          Family: Pelecinidae
           Genus: Pelecinus
            Species: polyturator

    Size (Adult, Length): 15mm to 62mm (0.59in to 2.44in)

    Identifying Colors: black; yellow

    Additional Descriptors: long, skinny, stinger, thighs, stinging, flying, harmful

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kentucky; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Nebraska; New Hampshire; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Vermont; Virginia; Nova Scotia; Newfoundland and Labrador; New Brunswick; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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