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Braconidae and Ichneumon?

what's the difference between Braconidae and Ichneumon?? Curious. ^_^ (and bet I spelled tha last one wrong)

also-is a Stink Bug a beetle or a bug?

Probably a stupid question right?



Stink Bugs
There are at least two types of insects called stink bugs. The ones I grew up calling by that name in California are really beetles in the genus Eleodes. They're well known for sticking their rear end up like a skunk when threatened and releasing a strong odor. They're called stink beetles in the Guide.

The stink bugs that are actually true bugs are the shield stink bugs of the family Pentatomidae . They're the ones called stink bugs in the Guide.

Okay the ype at the bottom-I
Okay the ype at the bottom-I didn't think to add a photo to this-the green ones and brown ones-LOL-okay that was silly-they look like the one you have in the lower corner but plainer-that's a very pretty one-BTW

We don't have Darkling Beetles but I have seen them in South West-very interesting-and that answered a question I had a long time ago-why do they do that head stand thing? ^_^ and I'm glad I didn't mess with it now.


I'll take the easy part of this first!
Stink Bug is a "true bug" (to distinguish this scientific order from the more general "bug" definition of little crawly things we see around the place). You can see that if you check out the taxonomy tab in the guide, here. True bugs' wings meet in a distinctive X pattern - the upper wings leave a little wedge shaped piece of the underwing showing on mature adults. Beetles have a different look - the covers of their wings, called elytra, meet in a straight line down the middle of their back. Beetles are also classified in a different order, identified here in the guide.
Braconidae and Ichneumonidae are two families of wasps that fall under the same superfamily, Ichneumonoidea. See here for taxonomy. Perhaps one of our experts can tell you the technical differences.

All my field guide gave on Br
All my field guide gave on Braconidae was that they're never brightly colored-that didn't seem right. Since the one I posted here and alot I looked at are brightly coloured.

I think what I was looking for was any distinct way to tell on appearence which is which, such as body shape, head shape, colour, etc. But since they all fall under Ichneumonoidea-there doesn't seem like there is a huge difference-I looked at the photos here and they all seem similar in appearence. Oh I'll just keep sending photos and you guys can tell me which is which.

I posted a few I found in the last few days-in ID Request.

Ah ha!! Now I can tell they are bugs not beetles. I thought they were bugs and not beetles-but I wanted to make sure on that one.

Thanks ^_^


My totally unscientific way to tell them that the braconids are usually smaller. Ichneumons tend to be more variable in pattern and coloring, including having white bands on the antennae. Most Braconids I've found are orange or red with black with solid black antennae. Hope that helps!

well-in that case I came acro
well-in that case I came across 3 different kind of Ichneumon wasps just today. I wonder how many kinds we have? I'll post them to be sure.


Jo ^_^

Braconid vs Ichneumonid
This is a group that often can be separated by gizz, once you are somewhat familiar with them, but it is also easy to make mistakes that way. Yes size does matter as only a few North American braconids get bigger that 15 mm, but since there is still some overlap, this is not an absolute, but just a guide. Color also helps as most ichneumonids are more colorful than most braconids, but again this does not always work.

It is all about wing veination, as the braconids never have more than one m-cu cross vein, whereas the ichneumonids have two. Unfortunately this can be very difficult and sometimes impossible to see in a photograph. The other difference is that in braconids the second and third metasomic tergites are fused together, but that can also be very hard and usually impossible to see in a photograph. So the bottom line is that with some individuals it may be impossible to tell from a photograph unless you know the group very well.

By the way, Borror, Triplehorn and Johnson list 1900+ species of braconid and 3300+ species of ichneumonids for North America, and with time that number will increase substantially

Braconid vs. ichneumonid
I though I should illustrate my earlier comments as many people may not know what I am talking about. I still haven't figured how to add images to a post here, so I suggest you go to the braconid section and click images. Here you will find two images of the same braconid (Cheloninae) on a grass blade. The left hand picture, with the wings open shows the veination clearly enough to illustrate the point. You will notice on the left front wing (the clearest) there is a large black spot (the stigma). Below and a bit to the left of that is an enclosed cell. Immediately below that is a cell that is open all the way to the end of the wing. In an ichneumonid this cell would be closed by the m-cu cross vein. I hope this is clear enough.

This photo also shows all the tergites (dorsal segments of the abdomen) fused together, forming what appears to be a single segment. This is most noticeable in the second photo. This is unique to the subfamily Cheloninae.

Images into comments
just for your add an image into the comment just find out the image number (upper left corner) then add the number into this code [thumb:####]

Thanks Lynette, I'll give i
Thanks Lynette, I'll give it a try

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