The long, syringe-like ovipositor on female Ichneumon Wasps looks like a mean stinger, but it's really all about the babies.
The size of M. nortoni alone creates anxiety among people who don't know about this wasp. It has a long, slender abdomen, dotted with red and yellow ovals or hexagons on each segment. The mainly black body sports yellow legs. Females have long needle-like ovipositors that are mistaken for flexible stingers. This ovipositor doubles the length of the insect, but it is not a stinger. It is a thin tube that females inject into tree bark where they suspect Horntail larvae have been implanted. She lays a fertilized egg on or near a Horntail larva inside the bark where the Horntail will serve as food for her own offspring once it hatches. M. nortoni seems to specifically parasitize Horntails.
Look for this species of Ichneumon Wasp on trees in deciduous forests and parks.
Scientific Name: Megarhyssa nortoni
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 38mm (0.98in to 1.48in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Ant, Bee, and Wasp Anatomy
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees and Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.