OMG I hope it doesn’t bite…!
Location: New Paltz, NY
September 23, 2010 3:59 pm
Was about 2-2.5 inches from antenae to back legs. Abdomen was very flat and perpendicular to the glass window it was on. Looking straight down on it, it looked like a large insect from behind with big eyes – markings to fool prey from behind, no doubt… You can zoom pretty far in on photo – decent resolution
Signature: Yeesh that’s cool!
This is a Short Tailed Ichneumon in the genus Ophion, which you can verify on BugGuide. Ichneumons are in the same insect order as the bees and wasps, but most do not sting. Not long ago we learned that some Ichneumons are capable of stinging. They are parasitoids, and the female Ophion preys upon caterpillars, generally laying a single egg. According to BugGuide: “Adult Ophion species will hunt for their host caterpillar. Usually one egg is laid per host. Caterpillar usually dies during pupal stage though wasp larva remains to pupate itself.” BugGuide also indicates that adults are attracted to lights.