Subject: Red mystery wasp
Location: near Ottawa, Ontario
July 18, 2016 3:43 pm
What is this beautiful little insect? I’m guessing some sort of wasp, maybe a parasitic wasp? I photographed it last week along Cedar Grove Nature Trail near Ottawa, where I see many fascinating tiny insects I can’t identify!
This is an amazing image. We suspect that the Ichneumon Wasp, which you speculated correctly is a parasitoid, is stalking the Caterpillar. Caterpillars are a common host to many species of Ichneumons. Ichneumons are often very host specific, frequently limiting their prey to a single genus, or even a single species. We are probably not even going to attempt to identify this Ichneumon beyond the family level as according to BugGuide, there are: “About 5,000 described species in North America, possibly 3,000 more undescribed” The caterpillar may be an Inchworm in the family Geometridae.