Image Credit: Elizabeth and Desmond L., taken in London, ON
Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
The family of Ichneumon Wasps is so vast and varied, many have not yet been given scientific names let alone common ones.
Ichneumon Wasps are typically non-aggressive, non-threatening wasps that are often spotted in or around woodlands and forests, near log stacks, or by plants. Many females have a long, syring-like ovipositor that looks a lot like a stinger, but this appendage is used to inject eggs deep into wood. In some species, short ovipositors may have stinging capability, but this type of wasp is usually disinterested in people that let it be. Some species show sexual dimorphism, where the male and female look slightly different from each other. As larvae, Ichneumon Wasps are common parasites of caterpillars and sawfly larvae (which look a lot like caterpillars).
There is great diversity in size, color, and pattern throughout the family. Species exist that are as small as a fingernail. Others are large and conspicuous. Some are steely black, while others are mostly orange. Many have yellow, orange, or red bands on the abdomen as one would expect in a wasp, and it is not uncommon to find a dot or mark on the thorax. Most have a yellow or white band on each antenna, which is comprised of many segments.
There are many unidentified species, and many that cannot be identified by just a photograph. These Ichneumon Wasps can still be enjoyed, however, and perhaps even more so, thanks to that little bit of mystery.
Scientific Name: Various spp.
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 40mm (0.12in to 1.56in)
Colors: black; yellow; orange; red; white
Descriptors: flying; ovipositor; stinger; syringe; banded; wasp; long antennae; long abdomen; long body; bendable; colorful
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.