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2539 Views 3 Replies Last post: Dec 4, 2012 6:35 AM by Episcophagus RSS
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Nov 30, 2012 3:16 PM

Trying to identify this Alaskan Wasp?



Hi guys,


I was wondering if you could help me identify this wasp at all. I'm not sure if they're any experts on American species but it would be great if I could get some help on working it out. I think its a Megarhyssa macrurus but thats an uneducated guess...


Any help you could give would be much appreciated.



Megarhyssa macrurus


Megarhyssa macrurus

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 30, 2012 9:10 PM (in response to Gold_Rush)
    Re: Trying to identify this Alaskan Wasp?

    According to The Ecology, Behavior, and Biological Control Potential of Hymenopteran Parasitoids of Woodwasps (Hymenoptera: Siricidae) in North America by David R Coyle and Kamal J K Gandhi (pdf here) the only Megarhyssa species in Alaska is Megarhyssa nortoni nortoni. In On Some Genera of Pimpline Ichneoumonidae J H Merrill (text here) writes on pages 132-133 (M lunator = M macrurus):


    In M. nortonii the yellow spots on the sides of the abdomen

    are rounded-oval, while in the closely related M. lunator and

    M. greenei they form angled bands. In M. nortonii there is a

    dark stripe extending from the vertex to and including the man-

    dibles, in M. lunator there are two dark lines running from the

    antennae to the mandibles, and in M. greenei these lines are

    absent. M. nortonii can be distinguished from M. mexicana

    in that the latter has a pale-yellow ground color, with black

    markings on the abdomen. The wings of the latter are clouded

    at the tips, and possess no areolet, neither are there any dark

    markings on the face. M. nortonii may be distinguished from

    M. atrata, humida, canadensis and nitida by the fact that in these

    latter forms the greater part of the surface of the body is black,

    with white, yellow, or fuscous body markings.


    And as your photo shows rounded spots on the side of the abdomen and not angled bands, everything fits!


    And also (page 133):

    Megarhyssa nortonii is widely distributed throughout the

    United States, Canada, and Alaska. Specimens taken from the

    Pacific coast ranging from Alaska down through California,

    exhibit in general much darker color markings than those taken

    east of the Rocky Mountains.


    That explains why your individual is quite dark.


    There is also a species of Rhyssa in Alaska: Rhyssa alaskensis/persuasoria, but it hasn't the round spots of Megarhyssa nortonii nortonii on the sides.

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