Ichneumon Wasp
Ophion sp.
Family: Ichneumonidae


Photo courtesy Pete Williams, Gulf Breeze, Florida
Copyright (c) 2007 Pete Williams

The Ichneumon Wasp female (above) has a long abdomen that is compressed on the sides. The body is pale yellow to reddish brown. The antennae and legs are long. The female ovipositor is barely visible at the tip of the abdomen. The wings are clear.

The adult Ichneimons feed on nectar. The larva feeds on the internal tissies of tiger moth, noctuid, silkworm and satyrid caterpillar moths. The insect is considered beneficial as they destroy the larva of many harmful insects.

The female hunts for an active caterpullar and deposits one egg on its body, often high on the thorax where the caterpillar can't reach it. The ichneumon larva burrows into the host, eventually killing it but usually after the caterpillar spins a cocoon. The larva then pupates inside the host's remains.

Its preferred habitat is forest canopies and shribby fields.

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