Went to Bedgebury Forest in Kent yesterday, my son looked on the side of a fallen tree and spotted a very unusual dragonfly/damselfly type creature with what appeared to be a long black stinger on the end of its tail. Its body was very thin, black and curved with red markings and its wings were folded on its back. It looked mean, and we wondered if it was some kind of long wasp at first, but it looks pretty exotic. Wish I had taken a photo! Have never seen anything like it before - any ideas please, it's driving us nuts!
More than likely it will be a type of Wasp or Sawfly as they are called, the 'stinger' is normally harmless and is used to deposit eggs in either leaves or caterpillars etc, depending on what type it was. Its difficult to say much more without seeing it, but you could have a look over at BWARS through the species gallery and see if you recognize it.
It sounds like an ichneumonid or braconid wasp; there are lots of different ones, but certainly some of the larger red and black ones do indeed look mean. The stinger thing is the females's ovipositor.
I have one in mind (a common one, that matches your description), but I can't find a good photo of it.
This page shows some photos of a similar one, though they do not show the ovipositor.
Thanks for your replies, SeaRayz & MikeHardman - although I am still browsing the net using your leads (as none have exactly matched the one we saw yet), I'm getting closer with the ichneumonid wasp. The problem is none of them seem to have the same markings, nor do their bodies look long and thin enough! But thanks for enlightening me on the ovipositor, as this was definitely what was sticking out of the back!
I'll keep looking and will post when I get an exact match!
Stop press! Suddenly happened upon the exact one, it is a kind of ichneumonid wasp and its name is rhyssa persuasoria. My son is currently jumping up and down! So thanks again for your help, fantastic