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Species Pelecinus polyturator - Pelecinid Wasp

Pelecinid wasp - Pelecinus polyturator - female Pelecinid - Pelecinus polyturator - female BG2848 E1271 - Pelecinus polyturator - female Hymenopteran for i.d. - Pelecinus polyturator - male Wow - Pelecinus polyturator - female Is this a ichneumon wasp? We have never seen one of these before. - Pelecinus polyturator - female wasp - Pelecinus polyturator thin waisted wasp laying eggs? - Pelecinus polyturator - female
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon ("Parasitica" (parasitic Apocrita))
Superfamily Proctotrupoidea
Family Pelecinidae (Pelecinids)
Genus Pelecinus
Species polyturator (Pelecinid Wasp)
Other Common Names
American Pelecinid
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Pelecinus polyturator (Drury 1773)
May be a complex of species. A number of color variants have been described, especially in the tropics, but most sources say that the family is represented by a single species north of Mexico.
Size
♀♀ 51-62 mm, ♂♂ 12-15 or 25 mm
Identification
Female is distinctive--abdomen 5X the length of the rest of the body. Abdomen has six segments. Males are smaller, with swollen tip of abdomen; they are seldom seen. Hindwings of both sexes very short, 1/3 length of forewings.
Range
e. half of NA + sw. US(1) to Argentina
Habitat
Forests, esp. deciduous forests
Season
Jul-Aug in MN, Jun-Sep in NC(2)
Food
Adults reported to take nectar.
Larvae feed on May Beetle grubs in the soil.
Life Cycle
Parasitoids of insect larvae that feed on decomposing wood, etc. These include larvae of scarab beetles, esp. May Beetles (Phyllophaga). Also reported to parasitize wood-boring insects. Female thrusts ovipositor into soil to detect host, lays one egg on each. Pelecinid larva burrows into the beetle larva, killing it. Wasp larva scavenges remains and pupates there in soil.
In North American populations, males are rare--just a few examples here:
  
In temperate populations reproduction is apparently largely by parthenogenesis/thelytoky (Brues 1928). In the tropics males are more abundant, so presumably sexual reproduction is common.
Print References
Baker, p. --description, habits (3)
Brues, Charles T., 1928. A note on the genus Pelecinus. Psyche 35: 205-209 (Full text)
Works Cited
1.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
2.Insects of North Carolina
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
3.Eastern Forest Insects
Whiteford L. Baker. 1972. U.S. Department of Agriculture · Forest Service.