Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Information, insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa


Species Megischus bicolor - Crown-of-thorns Wasp

Steph - Megischus bicolor - female Neuropteran? - Megischus bicolor - male Megischus - Megischus bicolor - female Megischus bicolor - female Black Bug - Megischus bicolor Megischus bicolor Ichneuman Wasp - Megischus bicolor Gasteruption? - Megischus bicolor
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 Stephanoidea
Family Stephanidae (Stephanid Wasps)
Genus Megischus
Species bicolor (Crown-of-thorns Wasp)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Megischus bicolor (Westwood, 1841).
Aguiar reports two undescribed species similar to M. bicolor.
20 mm--male (1), female body about 25 mm (1 inch), including ovipositor, 50 mm or more (guide photo).
See photos, family description.
Reported to have two morphs, previously described as subspecies: "one with head and pronotum ferrugineous (M. b. bicolor) and another uniformly brown or blackish (M. b. sickmanni)" (Stephanid home page--Alexandre Pires Aguiar)
Eastern United States. (Taber (1) reports this species occurs from "coast-to-coast".) John Ascher reports here that only two stephanid species are found in eastern North America (east of Oklahoma and Texas):
Megischus brunneus from southern Florida
Megischus bicolor from New England south to S Florida.
See notes about taxonomy above.
Coniferous and mixed woodlands
May-July (southeast), later in year in Florida, apparently (guide photos).
Male reported from a wounded mulberry, Morus, in Texas (1), so perhaps they take sap and other fluids.
Life Cycle
Parasitoids of beetles and/or wasps. Adult (1) seen on the trunk of a pine tree (Loblolly Pine, Pinus taeda) in Orange County, North Carolina. The "crown-of-thorns" on the head is thought to help the adult emerge from its pupation site.
Aguiar reports they are attracted to blue objects. He used blue bowls with soap solution to collect them.
Print References
Taber, page 62, fig. 51--photo of male, gives some life history and a common name (1).
Internet References
North Carolina State University Entomology Collection has 3 pinned--this species being the only member of the family listed for that state.
The Stephanidae Homepage (Alexandre Pires Aguiar), including images: Image 1, Image 4
Works Cited
1.Insects of the Texas Lost Pines (W.L. Moody, Jr., Natural History Series, No. 33)
Stephen W. Taber, Scott B. Fleenor. 2003. M University Press.