Tremex columba (Urbana, Illinois).

As many of you surmised, yesterday’s limerick referred to Siricid sawflies, also known as horntails. These insects are wasp-like in appearance, partly because they belong to the same order as wasps, Hymenoptera, and partly because the coloration of some species has converged on wasp-like stripes.

Horntails belong to an older radiation, though, one that never developed the characteristic wasp waist nor the typical wasp carnivory. Horntail larvae feed on dead wood, and the fierce appearance of the adults belies a gentle disposition. The long “tail” cannot sting, being merely an egg-laying structure.

Tremex columba – the pigeon horntail (Urbana, Illinois).

Points are awarded as follows: 5 to Chris Murrow for being the first to pick the suborder, and 5 each to Josh King and Jesse Hardin for being roughly tied here and on FB for guessing Siricidae.