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Braconid Wasp (Atanycolus spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Braconid Wasp

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Image Credit: Alex K. from Kelowna, BC
Full-sized image of the Braconid-Wasp Thumbnail image of the Braconid-Wasp
Image Credit: Alex K. from Kelowna, BC
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Image Credit: Alex K. from Kelowna, BC
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Tiny female Braconid Wasps have mastered the art of child rearing thanks to long ovipositors .

Updated: 06/24/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Insect stinger icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Braconidae
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          Genus: Atanycolus
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Atanycolus spp.
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 4mm to 7mm (0.15" to 0.27")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, red
Descriptors: tiny, small, stinging, flying, needle, stinger, ovipositor

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 4mm (0.2in) and 7mm (0.3in)
Lo: 4mm
Md: 5.5mm
Hi: 7mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Braconid Wasp may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Braconid Wasp. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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