Subject: Beautiful nightly visitor
May 23, 2012 5:12 pm
I’ve just been visited by one of the most beautiful insects I have ever seen and wanted to ask you if you could identify my nightly guest?
One strange thing I noticed is it had what seemed like three extra eyes on the top of its head right between the two big eyes, on the base of its antennas.
A pretty exciting sight, I don’t see such exotic looking insects around here very often.
Greetings from Austria,
We really enjoy getting requests from people who think insects are beautiful that other folks might find repulsive. This Ichneumon is a parasitic wasp that preys upon other insects and arthropods. The female lays her eggs within the host by using an ovipositor. Some wasps have evolved so that the ovipositor has adapted into a stinger and many Ichneumons have very long ovipositors. A group of North American Ichneumons in the genus Megarhyssa can have ovipositors as long as five inches in length and they are known as Stump Stabbers since the female uses her ovipositor to lay her eggs in wood that is infested with wood boring insects.