Subject: Red wasp with bright blue wings
Location: Loon Lake, CA — near Tahoe in El Dorado National Forest, very close to the lake
September 2, 2012 12:01 pm
This bright, beautiful little critter completely surprised me – I’ve never seen anything quite like this! I’d love to know what it was.
Signature: Christy


Hi Christy,
We are nearly certain that this is a Spider Wasp,
Tachypompilus unicolor, though some details are difficult to discern in your photograph.  The wasp appears to be searching the ground, which is a major factor in our identification as Spider Wasps hunt spiders in this manner, especially since they prey upon Wolf Spiders to feed their young.  You may refer to BugGuide for additional information, including that the preferred habitat is :  “Varied, but they are usually found in open habitats.”

I really appreciate the ID!  Yes, it was down on the gravel-y ground, a few feet from the lake in one direction, and about 20 feet from a pine forest the other direction.  I only saw it on the ground for about a minute, and then it flew away.

Update:  June 4, 2020
Based on comments that have been submitted, we are correcting this posting, identifying the insect as an Ichneumon.

Location: California

6 Responses to Ichneumon

  1. Jon Hoskins says:

    This specimen has an ovipositor so definitely isn’t a spider wasp but an ichneumonid wasp.

    • bugman says:

      The image lacks critical detail. We suspect that is a stick on the ground and not an ovipositor.

      • Jon Hoskins says:

        Wing venation is also distinctly ichneumonid – not a spider wasp. The structure is also distinctly an ovipositor and not a stick when viewing the full-sized image.

  2. Joe says:

    Hello, I think Jon is correct. I’ve had a few of these about this Autumn probing around the lawn attempting to lay eggs in lawn grubs. Probably Lissopimpla excelsa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.