In the “Ichneumon” Family (Kingdom Animalia (Animals), Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods), Class Insecta (Insects), Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies), No Taxon (parasitic Apocrita), Superfamily Ichneumonoidea (Braconids and Ichneumons), Family Ichneumonidae (Ichneumon Wasps)). According to Ross Hill, an Ichneumon expert, “[t]he exerted ovipositor, cylindric abdomen, orange coloration with black markings, and banded leg patterning are typical of many ichneumons in [the Pimplinae subfamily].” Going below the family (or subfamily) to Genus and species is very difficult (see below).
The larvae feed on a great variety of hosts, though most species attack only a few types of hosts; some ichneumons attack spiders. Most are internal parasites of the inmature stages of the host.
One of the largest families of insects with over 3100 species in North America (60,000 worldwide). The majority resemble slender wasps. They differ from the wasps that sting (Scolioidea, Vespoidea and Sphecoidea) in that they have the antennae longer and with more segments usually 16 or more). In many ichneumons the ovipositor is quite long, often longer than the body…
Many Ichneumons are of value in the control of noxious insects.
Ichneumonids are notoriously hard to identify: aside from the sheer number of species, there are numerous cases of distant relatives that appear almost identical. Any identification based solely on comparing images should be treated as suspect unless an expert has said there are no lookalikes for the species or group in question.
Photo taken with the Canon Digital Rebel XT / 350D and a Sigma 70-300mm Lens on May 25, 2009 in Davenport, Iowa.