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



Species Pelecinus polyturator - American Pelecinid Wasp

Pelecinid Wasp - Pelecinus polyturator - female ichneumon wasp - Pelecinus polyturator - female Pelecinid Wasp (Male) - Pelecinus polyturator - male Pelecinus polyturator - female Pelecinus polyturator - female Pelecinus - Pelecinus polyturator - female Pelecinus polyturator - female Wasp - Pelecinus polyturator - female
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon ("Parasitica" - Parasitoid Wasps)
Superfamily Proctotrupoidea
Family Pelecinidae (Pelecinid Wasps)
Genus Pelecinus
Species polyturator (American 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.(1)
♀♀ 51-62 mm, ♂♂ 12-15 or 25 mm
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.
e. half of NA + sw. US(2) to Argentina
Forests, esp. deciduous forests
mostly: July-Oct (BG data)
Adults reported to take nectar.
Larvae feed on May Beetle grubs in the soil, Phyllophaga spp. (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae).
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 its long abdomen and 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.
Mating pair
Males are scarce in general, but their scarcity is more pronounced in certain populations, that are suspected to be parthenogenetic (Geographic variation in sex ratio of P. polyturator).
Print References
Baker, p. --description, habits (3)
Brues, Charles T., 1928. A note on the genus Pelecinus. Psyche 35: 205-209 (Full text)
Bennett. 2003. Host location behaviour in Pelecinus polyturator. J. Entom. Soc. Ont.
Internet References
Bug Eric The American Pelecinid Wasp
Beetles in the Bush--An elegant living fossil…
Info page from a University of Wisconson web site.
Works Cited
1.Revision of the proctotrupoid genus Pelecinus Latreille (Hymenoptera: Pelecinidae).
2.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
3.Eastern Forest Insects
Whiteford L. Baker. 1972. U.S. Department of Agriculture · Forest Service.