Braconid Wasp (Atanycolus spp.)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Braconid Wasp.
Updated: 3/15/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Tiny female Braconid Wasps have mastered the art of child rearing thanks to long ovipositors .
Braconid Wasps are tiny wasps that might be mistaken for flies were it not for the alarm colors and the female's long ovipositor. Her needle-like ovipositor looks like a long stinger, but it is not. It is a tube used to deposit eggs. They have black heads and red bodies. Long black wings fold over each other and cover the length of the abdomen when walking. Long legs and antennae are also black.
Braconid Wasps are parasitic to many types of Wood-Boring Beetle larvae as well as caterpillars. Females survey a tree trunk, looking for holes. Many beetle species inject their own eggs into trunks to protect them from surface predators and place them close to the heartwood, a food source for them. The Braconid Wasp female uses her syringe-like ovipositor to poke into deep holes. When she finds a beetle grub at the end of one, she lays a fertilized egg on or inside beetle larva. Later, the newly hatched wasp larva eats the grub from the inside out.