Ichneumonidae

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The mechanism of natural selection as the directive or creative force—a materialistic, purposeless, and non-progressive agent—resolves such a philosophical issue. However, one may also note that the parasitic wasp, as with other taxa, are part of an extraordinary harmony in nature , which appears to be underlain by the principle of bi-level functionality.

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This principle notes that taxonomic groups not only advance their own individual functions survival, reproduction, development , but also provide a larger function for the ecosystem, humans. In the case of the caterpillar being consumed by wasp larva, it provides food for the parasitic wasp.

Parasitic wasp attacking moth pupa (Ichneumonidae)

In the case of the parasitic wasps, they play an essential role in the function of ecosystems as part of food chains , as predator and prey, and in the control of insects. For humans, Ichneumonidae offer a natural biocontrol of pest insects, such as those that eat agricultural crops. As members of the Hymenoptera suborder Apocrita, along with bees , ants , and other wasps , ichneumonids are characterized by a constriction between the first and second abdominal segments called a wasp-waist. This also involves the fusion of the first abdominal segment to the thorax.

Ichneumonids are holometabolus insects, meaning they undergo complete metamorphosis in which the larvae differ markedly from the adults. The larva of ichneumonids, like all Apocrita, do not have legs, prolegs, or ocelli.


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As in other Hymenoptera, sexes are significantly genetically different. Females have a diploid 2n number of chromosomes and come about from fertilized eggs. Males, in contrast, have a haploid n number of chromosomes and develop from an unfertilized egg. Ichneumonids belong to the Apocrita division Parasitica, which includes the superfamilies Ichneumonoidea, Chalcidoidea, Cynipoidea, and Proctotrupoidea Grzimek et al. Members of the Parasitica tend to be parasites on other insects, while membes of the other division of Apocrita, Aculeata, which contains ants, bees, and others wasps, tend to be stinging forms.

In Aculeata, the ovipositor an organ typically used for laying eggs is adapted into a venomous stinger. Some Parasitca are phytophagous and many Aculeata are parasites Grzimek et al. Ichneumon wasps differ from the wasps that sting in defense Aculeata: Vespoidea and Apoidea in that the antennae have more segments; typically 16 or more, whereas the others have 13 or fewer. Their abdomen is characteristically very elongated, unlike in their relatives the braconids. This lengthened section may also be segmented. Female ichneumon wasps frequently exhibit an ovipositor longer than their body.

Ovipositors and stingers are homologous structures; some Ichneumons inject venom along with the egg, but they do not use the ovipositor as a stinger, per se, except in the subfamily Ophioninae. Stingers in aculeate Hymenoptera—which like Ichneumonidae belong to the Apocrita—are used exclusively for defense; they cannot be used as egg-laying equipment. Males do not possess stingers or ovipositors in either lineage.

Some species of ichneumon wasps lay their eggs in the ground, but most inject them directly into a host's body, typically into a larva or pupa. Host information has been notably summed up by Aubert , , , Perkins , , and Townes et al. In some of the largest species, namely from the genera Megarhyssa and Rhyssa, both sexes will wander over the surface of logs, and tree trunks, tapping with their antennae.


  1. Family Ichneumonidae | ENT – General Entomology.
  2. Ichneumons Without Bios (Family Ichneumonidae) | Field Station!
  3. American Entomological Institute?
  4. Insects of Britain and Ireland: Hymenoptera families - Ichneumonidae.
  5. Each sex does so for a different reason; females are "listening" for wood boring larvae of the horntail wasps hymenopteran family Siricidae upon which to lay eggs, males are listening for emerging females with which to mate. Upon sensing the vibrations emitted by a wood-boring host, the female wasp will drill her ovipositor into the substrate until it reaches the cavity wherein lies the host.

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    Royal Entomological Society

    She then injects an egg through the hollow tube into the body cavity. There the egg will hatch and the resulting larva will devour its host before emergence. The Ichneumonidae of Costa Rica, 1. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 1— The Ichneumonidae of Costa Rica, 2. Hanson H. Ecological notes on the Sirex wood wasps and their parasites. Bulletin of Entomological Research 27— Horstmann K. Jansson R. What can multiple phylogenies say about the latitudinal diversity gradient?

    A new look at the tropical conservatism, out-of-the-tropics and diversification rate hypotheses. Evolution 7: — Kamath M. Ichneumonologia Orientalis, Part II. The Tribe Rhyssini Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae. Oriental Insects Monographs 2: 1— Kasparyan D. Key to the insects of Russia Far East. Neuropteroidea, Mecoptera, Hymenoptera 5.

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    Ichneumonidae - Ichneumons | NatureSpot

    Dome lighting for insect imaging under a microscope. Porter C. A revision of the genus Epirhyssa Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae. Studia Entomologica — Systematics and zoogeography of the neotropic genus Epirhyssa Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae. National Geography Society Research Reports — Quicke D. We know too little about parasitoid wasp distributions to draw any conclusions about latitudinal trends in species richness, body size and biology.

    PLoS One 7: 1—9. High local species richness of parasitic wasps Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae; Pimplinae and Rhyssinae from the lowland rainforests of Peruvian Amazonia.

    Ecological Entomology — Seyrig A. Sheng M. Science Press, Beijing, China. Spradbery J. A technique for artificially culturing ichneumonid parasites of woodwasps Hymenoptera: Siricidae. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata — Host finding by Rhyssa persuasoria L. Animal Behaviour — Townes H. The genera of Ichneumonidae, part 1. Ephialtinae to Agriotypinae. The parasitic Hymenoptera with the longest ovipositors, with descriptions of two new Ichneumonidae.

    Entomological News — Ichneumon-flies of America north of Mexico: 2. Subfamilies Ephialtinae, Xoridinae, Acaenitinae.