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Ichneumon Wasp - Spilopteron (Spilopteron formosum)


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



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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
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This female Ichneumon Wasp has an ovipositor that is about as long as she is.



Updated: 07/06/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
A type of wasp, Spilopteron formosum has the hallmark black and yellow coloring typical of this type of insect. The straight, pointy ovipositor on the tip of the female's abdomen is often mistaken for a tremendously long stinger. It is not a stinger; it is her biological tool for injecting her precious, fertilized eggs deep into tree trunks to protect them from predators. She typically goes about her natural business, alighting on logs, trees, and wood piles, taking little notice of people watching her.

This species of Ichneumon has clear markings on the transparent wings. Each tip has a black mark as does the outer edge. Black veins cut across the wing. The long antennae are black with a wide yellow band at near the center. The legs are mostly yellow with some black on them, usually on the long 'thighs'. Look for this species of wasp around woodlands during the summer, and be sure to check tree stumps and logs before sitting down on them.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Insect stinger icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Ichneumonidae
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          Genus: Spilopteron
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            Species: formosum
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Spilopteron formosum
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 40mm (0.78" to 1.57")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; yellow
Descriptors: long tail; long stinger; wasp; flying; black wing tips; yellow on eyes
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 20mm (0.8in) and 40mm (1.6in)
Lo: 20mm
Md: 30mm
Hi: 40mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
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 - Spilopteron 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 - Spilopteron. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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