Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Ichneumon Wasp


Our warm weather also started bringing out an assortment of insects including this Ichneumon Wasp that joined me in my basement shop. According to BugGuide, the Ichneumon Wasp family (Ichneumonidae) is one of the largest families of insects, with over 60,000 species worldwide and over 3100 in North America. A few of the Ichneumons are distinctive, but most are difficult to identify even to the genus level.

According to the University of Illinois site:

Ichneumons are parasitoid: The larva feeds and develops on or in a single host that it eventually kills. Some attack a wide variety of hosts, others are highly specific to one or a small group of host species. A female wasp locates an appropriate host, and she
lays an egg on or near it. After hatching, the larva feeds either from the outside of the host (external parasite) or within the body cavity (internal parasite).


The hosts are often caterpillars, but can be anything from aphids to spiders. The essay by Stephen Jay Gould listed below has a more detailed description of the larvae feeding process.

One characteristic shared by most Ichneumons are long, slender antennae made up of many (at least 16) small segments. If you click on the photo above and enlarge, you can see the numerous tiny segments in this Ichneumon's antennae.


Sources and additional material:


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15 comments:

imac said...

What a great Macro Marvin.
also the info is interesting too.


Quick quiz2 now up.

Tom said...

I'm glad there are now wasps that parasitize humans. I've heard about these parasitic wasps before and always thought they are have a very interesting life cycle. Very cool photo Marvin.


Tom

Old Wom Tigley said...

Great post and love the info... like most of your pictures when enlarged they really do go into detale...

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Doesn't it make you feel insignificant when you realize there are so many different types of wasps, bugs etc and the human race there are so few and we destruct so much of the natural world.

Sorry about my rant... Lovely photo.

oldmanlincoln said...

I enjoyed reading your post today. Very good. There is a kind of wasp whose name I have since forgotten that does essentially the same thing to young trees.

lv2scpbk said...

That's a skinny wasp.

Dave said...

So your the one hogging all of the warm weather. :) Nice pix!

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Great post and wasp photo. Now I'm glad I'm still in winter. :D


Hugs, JJ

Q said...

Great photo! I miss seeing bugs!
I miss Stephen Jay Gould too. Always enjoyed his articles.
Thanks for all the links and the enjoyable read.
Sherry

Small City Scenes said...

I have tried and tried to leave a comment and I couldn't anywhere and now boom here you are. I hope I can post this. Here goes. I like bugs and such. I would like to get closeups. You live in an interesting area. MaryBeth

Small City Scenes said...

Every year we get visitors from the frozen north, we are their winter playground. The count on the Snow Geese has surpassed 100,000. Whew! It is amazing and very noisy. We also get Eagles, many other raptors, lots of ducks and other water fowl and Trumpeter Swan. All beautiful to see. MB

Lana Gramlich said...

So graceful looking. I've never seen one in real life & always wanted to. Thanks for sharing your photo. :)

Mary said...

Marvin, isn't it amazing that only after a day or two of warm weather after a long freeze, the wasps emerge? Great post. I'm not looking forward to the return of the wasp!

Marvin said...

Our weather itself has been "interesting" if not amazing. Tuesday afternoon we had a couple of hours of severe thunderstorms. After the storms it was nearly 70º and I was photographing a different wasp. Wednesday morning it is 32º and we've had a light dusting of snow. I reckon the wasps have gone into seclusion again.

Andrée said...

in two and a half months i'll have my new camera and then i (hopefully) can take photos a bit like yours. I love bugguide, they helped grandson and me ID some great moths and butterflies and spiders last summer. Thank you for the Gould link!