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Braconid wasp

Atanycolus spp.

Description:

Next to impossible to identify this genus from images alone, however it is one of the more common genera in the subfamily. (information from BugGuide) The morphological variation among braconids is notable. Braconids are often black-brown (sometimes with reddish markings), though some species exhibit striking coloration and pattern, being parts of Müllerian mimicry complexes. They have one or no recurrent veins, unlike other members of the Ichneumonoidea which usually have two. Wing venation patterns are also divergent to apparent randomness. The antennae have 16 segments or more; the hind trochanters have 2 segments. Females often have long ovipositors, an organ that largely varies intraspecifically. This variation is closely related to the host species upon which the wasp deposits its egg. Species that parasitize microlepidoptera, for instance, have longer ovipositors, presumably to reach the caterpillar through layers of plant tissue. Some wasps also have long ovipositors because of caterpillar defense mechanisms such as spines or hairs. (information from Wikipedia)

Notes:

These wasps are parasites of woodboring insect larvae. This female was laying an egg through the bark and onto a larva residing underneath it. I endured quite a few mosquito bites to capture these images! :-)

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6 Comments

KimLomman
KimLomman 8 years ago

Nice shots :)

KarenL
KarenL 9 years ago

Very nice series! Nothing wrong with #4 at all.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 9 years ago

If you hold back on shots like that maybe I should delete all mine. 8)

Aaron_G
Aaron_G 9 years ago

Ok, I posted a 4th image showing her ovipositor.

As I'm recalling, the total body length (without antennae and ovipositor) was around 2 cm.

Aaron_G
Aaron_G 9 years ago

I have 1 so-so shot of her in a resting position. Let me see if it's worth posting in the series for reference.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 9 years ago

Excellent shots Goody. I wonder just what the full length of the ovipositor was.!? Well done with the mozzies - we are fighting leeches for fungi at the moment :)

Aaron_G
Spotted by
Aaron_G

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Spotted on Apr 27, 2012
Submitted on Apr 29, 2012

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