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Ichneumon Wasp - Mesostenus (Mesostenus thoracicus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Ichneumon Wasp - Mesostenus.




This small and agile wasp sports common colors for its kind, but in new and distinctive ways.



 Updated: 3/23/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The genus Mesostenus has only a couple of known species. Both look very similar. The solid white dot in the center of the 'back' (or thorax) is hard to miss, but it may be the female's long ovipositor that gets primary attention. Her thick, black egg depositor looks a lot like an ominous syringe and this appendage is often mistaken for a stinger. It is not used for stinging, but for injecting eggs into wood. Another neat physical feature includes a broad white band in the middle of the black antennae. In addition to this, its body is a bit of black and a lot of orange. The upper part (thorax) is black near the head and orange near the thin, bowed waist. The lower part (abdomen) is completely orange.

Like many Ichneumon Wasps, this type seems disinterested in people and is not a significant threat for stinging. It is also very small and fast, so it could escape notice completely unless someone has an eye for catching flitting moments in nature.


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect antennae icon
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Ichenumonidae [ View More ]
          Genus: Mesostenus [ View More ]
            Species: thoracicus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Descriptors
Scientific Name: Mesostenus thoracicus
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 11mm (0.39in to 0.43in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; orange; red; white
Descriptors: white dot on back; white side stripes; orange tail; half black half orange body; ovipositor; white on antennae; orange legs; flying
Relative Size Comparison
Lo: 10mm | Hi: 11mm
Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
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.
Territorial Map
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
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Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Ant, Bee, and Wasp Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of both a bee and an ant insect
1
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
2
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
3
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
4
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
5
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees, & Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.