American pelecinid wasp

(Pelecinus polyturator)

Conservation Status
American pelecinid wasp
Photo by Scott Bemman
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

American pelecinid wasp is a black, shiny, vespoid wasp.

Females can reproduce without fertilization, and males of this species are rare. Males are ½ to or 1 long. The posterior end of the abdomen is club-shaped.

The females are 2 to 2 long, relatively common, and distinctive. The abdomen is long and slender. It has six segments and is five times the length of the rest of the body.

The hindwings of both sexes are the length of the forewings.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Male: ½ to or 1 long

Female: 2 to 2 long

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  No similar species  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Deciduous forests

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

July to August

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

The female thrusts its ovipositor into the soil to detect beetle grubs. It lays a single egg on each. The wasp larva burrows into and feeds on the grub. It overwinters in the soil.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

June beetle (Phyllophaga) grubs

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Nectar

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 24, 29, 30.

 
  9/14/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)  
 

Suborder

Apocrita (narrow-waisted wasps, ants, and bees)  
  Infraorder Proctotrupomorpha  
 

Superfamily

Proctotrupoidea  
 

Family

Pelecinidae (ancestral and modern pelecinid wasps)  
 

Genus

Pelecinus  
       
 

This species is the only member of the family Pelecinidae that occurs in North America north of Mexico.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

American pelecinid

American pelecinid wasp

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Ovipositor

A long needle-like tube on the abdomens of some female insects, used to inject eggs into soil or plant stems.

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Scott Bemman

 
    American pelecinid wasp      
 

Brian Johnson

 
    American pelecinid wasp      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    American pelecinid wasp      
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
American pelecinid wasp
DianesDigitals
  American pelecinid wasp  
 
About

Copyright DianesDigitals

 
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  American pelecinid wasp (Pelecinidae: Pelecinus polyturator) Female on Table
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 20, 2010

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (20 July 2010).

 
  American pelecinid wasp? (Pelecinidae: Pelecinus polyturator?) Resting Male?
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 27, 2011

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (27 August 2011). Thank you to John and Jane Balaban (@Bugguide.net) for suggesting the identity of this specimen.

 
  American pelecinid wasp (Pelecinidae: Pelecinus polyturator) Female Grooming
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 23, 2010

Photographed at Icelandic State Park, North Dakota (23 July 2010). This was but one of perhaps two dozen females that I observed in an hour-long walk over the mowed lawns beneath the park's canopy of an Oak, Elm, Ash, and Boxelder trees.

 
  American pelecinid wasp (Pelecinidae: Pelecinus polyturator) Feeding on Leaf Surface
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 6, 2011

Photographed on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River north of Red Wing, Minnesota (04 August 2011).

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Shawn Dause
8/8/2021

Location: Almora, MN

 
  Scott Bemman
August 2020

Location: Baker Park Reserve

American pelecinid wasp  
  TPS
8/7/2015

Location: Saint Paul, MN

I'd never seen or heard of this until late last night when one (female) flew about my bedroom as I was about to go to sleep. Was startled by its appearance after getting a clear view of it with my glasses on.

Had to find out what it was. Have lived in Minnesota my entire life (51 years) and this was a first.

 
  Brian Johnson
8/31/2014

Location: northern St. Louis County, Fairbanks

never seen one before.

American pelecinid wasp  
  The Novaks
8/25/2013

Just found your site when trying to identify an insect we have never seen before. We found photos and made a positive ID - the bug we found is the female pelecinid wasp.

We noticed that there were only three areas listed where this insect has been found in Minnesota. We found the insect in St. Louis County in the Side Lake area, more specifically, at Perch Lake. Just thought you might like to know about where we found the insect.

 
  Joshua D. Haglund
8/9/2012

Hello MinnesotaSeason.com!!

I killed 3 female pelecinid wasps in Pennington County,
Thief River Falls, MN

... if you want to update your locations spotted.

One crawled at me fast, like a scorpion about to attack...
Good thing they don't fly very fast.

This is the first time I've seen them. I had to figure out what they were.

Thanks for the site

 
           
 
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