I asked for an ID on an Ichneumon wasp a while ago but the pics were a little unclear. I have managed to take some better photos of a very obliging female Ichneumon wasp doing her chilling thing earlier today.............Can anyone help me identify her exact species please? Thanks!
Very nice! It's Helconidea ruspator, one of our larger Braconidae (subfamily Helconinae). This is a parasitoid of cerambycid beetles and rather rarely seen in Britain - it may just be unobtrusive, we know very little about these helconines. There are three British helconines with a tooth on the hind femur but this can be narrowed down to H. ruspator as the antenna is all black (white-banded in Wroughtonia spinator), the hind coxa is black and the tibia reddish (reddish and dark brown, respectively, in Helconidea dentator), and the position of the femoral tooth is just right. I'm assuming this is a British specimen, though...
Hello Gavin, thankyou very much for your answer! It's wonderful to finally know what she is and exciting that I've managed to stumble across such a rarity!
Yes she is a British specimen, I took these photos on the edge of Tattershall Carr woods in Lincolnshire. She was busy laying and wasn't bothered by the camera at all, so it was fascinating to watch her caressing the wood of the fallen tree with her antennae as she searched for hosts for her offspring. She inserted 4-5 eggs whilst I watched. You said that they're a parasitoid of cerambycid beetles and I have seen and photographed quite a few Longhorns (of 3 species so far) in the woods, including on the very tree she was inspecting, so the future looks bright for her species at Tattershall Carr!
Thanks again for your very knowlegeable reply Gavin!
(female Four Banded Longhorn)
We've seen the same combination of wasp and beetle in Sutton Park – see http://www.spnh.scnhs.org.uk/helconidea.html.
Rev. T.A. Marshall's "Monograph of British Braconidae" (Transactions of the Entomological Society of London, pp.149-211, 1889) records the breeding of H. ruspator (then called Helcon ruspator) from a larva of Strangalia quadrifasciata.
I came across the image of Helconidea ruspator when trying to match an ichneumen wasp I photgraphed in south of France. My one looks slightly different in that it appears to have orange coloration at the antennae base,and the thighs have black as well as orange coloration.
Maybe it's still the same species ?
this is a digger wasp of the genus Sceliphron (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae) there are several similar species in Europe. This one appears to be having a drink. Sceliphron are sometimes called 'mud-dauber' wasps because they make mud nests on firm objects, such as rocks or house walls. The nests are provisioned with spiders.