Ichneumon Wasp


a red and black Ichneumonidae, Compsocryptus, photo © by Allan Ostling

Feeding at flowers of Desert Broom (Baccharis sarothroides) at Rackensack Wash, Maricopa Cp., Arizona. The photo was taken by Allan Ostling.

Ichneumonidae -- a Parasitic Wasp Family

Even though Ichneumon Flies are really wasps, and the females are capable of delivering a sting, they are best considered harmless. The adults of many different kinds can be found visiting flowers. This is one of the more colorful species.

The females lay their eggs inside the bodies of mostly insects and each species of ichneumon specializes on one or a few hosts. The larva of the wasp devours its host from the inside out, leaving vital organs for last, so that the host can itself continue to feed and grow ... but finally only for the ichneumon's benefit. The wasp emerges after the host insect has died.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 12 April 2014.