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.
The long, glossy abdomen ('tail') of the Pelecinid Wasp female invokes trepidation among humans, but it does not sting. It is actually used to deposit eggs onto the backs of grubs living underground. She pokes it deep into the soil until she hits one. She then lays one egg on it and moves on to find another. When the wasp egg hatches, the larva will use its mouth to burrow into the helpless grub and eat it from the inside out.
Females have bulging legs in addition to the extremely long and thin abdomen. They do not have stingers, but may try to poke at a threat to push or scare it away. The male has a shorter abdomen with a swollen tip. They are rarely seen, but share traits like the glossy body and bulging legs (albeit smaller) with females.
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. Females are often spotted surveying land for hosts. This species is capable of producing offspring from unfertilized eggs, a remarkable feat for a living creature.
Scientific Name: Pelecinus polyturator
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 15mm to 62mm (0.59in to 2.42in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Ant, Bee, and Wasp Anatomy
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees and Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.