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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



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Image Credit: Arch Baker
Full-sized image of the Ichneumon-Wasp-Mesostenus-thoracicus Thumbnail image of the Ichneumon-Wasp-Mesostenus-thoracicus

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



Updated: 03/23/2020; 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
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Ichenumonidae
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          Genus: Mesostenus
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            Species: thoracicus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Mesostenus thoracicus
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 11mm (0.39" to 0.43")
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
Typical Size Between 10mm (0.4in) and 11mm (0.4in)
Lo: 10mm
Md: 10.5mm
Hi: 11mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Ichneumon Wasp - Mesostenus may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Ichneumon Wasp - Mesostenus. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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