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Great golden digger wasp

Sphex ichneumoneus

These insects owe their name to the short golden hairs that cover the thorax and head. 

They have black antennae and orange or golden brown wings. The legs are orange, except for the coxa, the part nearest the body, which is black. Great golden digger wasps have a narrow waist and a bi-coloured abdomen: orange-red in front and black behind. Their total length is 15 to 27 mm, and males are slightly smaller than females.

Sphecid wasps


These insects come in widely varying sizes (10 to 55 mm long), but all have an elongated abdomen attached to the thorax by a characteristic “thread-waisted” long, narrow, petiole-shaped structure. They may be entirely black or brown or dark with white, yellow or red markings. The females’ forelegs often have specialized structures for digging.

The larvae are pale coloured and legless. 

In the past, the Sphecid family included the Crabronidae [lien], a fairly similar-looking group of wasps that now forms a separate family. 

Virescent green metallic bee

Agapostemon virescens

These bees are recognizable by their metallic green head and thorax. The eyes are droplet shaped, and their antennae are highly visible. The female’s abdomen is black, with bands of white hair, while the male’s is black with hairless bands. Their translucent wings are slightly smoke-coloured or amber.

The males are 10 mm long and the females, 11 mm.

Giant ichneumon

Megarhyssa atrata

These insects look like large, slender wasps. They have a yellow head with a dark stripe between the eyes. The thorax and abdomen are dark, either black or dark brown. Their long legs are mainly yellow, while their four elongated, narrow wings are almost black.

Females have an impressive 12- to 15-cm long dark brown ovipositor.

This species resembles two other ichneumons found in the same habitat in Quebec: Megarhyssa macrurus and M. greenei. Giant ichneumons are recognizable by their blackish-brown abdomens. In addition, they have the longest ovipositors.

Ichneumon wasps


These insects generally resemble wasps, but their antennae are longer and more segmented.

In many species, the female’s abdomen ends in a filament even longer than the rest of the body. This egg-laying organ is called an ovipositor.

The vast ichneumon group comprises thousands of species, ranging widely in size (from 3 to 50 mm long) and coloration. Many are a single colour, varying from yellowish to black, while others are bicoloured, black and brown or black and yellow.

Digger wasps


These insects vary greatly in size, but all have narrow “thread-like” waists. They have an effective stinger at the tip of their abdomens and are solitary hunters.

The larvae are legless. 

Until recently, the Crabronidae were included in the Sphecid family of wasps, as they are all fairly similar in appearance and behaviour. The Crabronidae are now considered a separate family.



Danaus plexippus plexippus

Monarchs are butterflies with orange, black-veined wings. Each wing has a black border with rows of white dots. Their wingspan of 93 to 105 mm makes them some of the largest butterflies in Quebec.

Males have two tiny black spots on the top of their hind wings. The black bands on the females’ wings are also wider.

Click beetles


Click beetles have slender bodies that are elongated and parallel-sided. They are usually brown or black in colour, and some have markings on their back. The posterior corners of their pronotum (area behind the head) extend backward and end in sharp points. A few species have large eye spots on the pronotum.

The larvae, called wireworms, are slender and hard shelled.

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