Subject: Crane Fly or Other?
Location: Wasilla Alaska
July 22, 2013 4:21 am
Hi, my son is six and at a time of q&a with me, his homeschooling mom, about everything he encounters. I never realized how little I know about the immediate world around me until recently! I’m determined to keep up and thus I have landed here on your site. I am hoping this is just a Crane Fly type, but the thorax pattern and long stinger throw that idea off a bit. Please help. Kind Regards,
Signature: Curious’s Mom



Dear Curious’s Mom,
This is some species of Ichneumon, a group of parasitoid wasps that prey upon other insects and arthropods.  The “stinger” is actually an ovipositor, and many Ichnuemons use the ovipositor to deposit eggs beneath the surface of stumps and logs that are infested with wood boring insects.  Those Ichneumons are commonly called Stump Stabbers.  We don’t get many submissions from Alaska, and we try to identify creatures to the species level whenever possible, but Ichneumons are a large group of insects and many species are not well described.  Your Ichneumon appears to be a very different species from this previous Ichneumon from Alaska that we posted several years ago.  Your individual does look very similar to this member of the genus Rhyssa that is posted to BugGuide.

Location: Wasilla, Alaska

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