Ichneumon Fly (Amblyteles armatorius)

Ichneumon flies are not flies at all, they are more closely related to wasps and bees in the order hymenoptera and that is not hard to believe when you see them, especially this one, Amblyteles armatorius, with its striking yellow and black colouring.

This species is very common in mid-summer, frequently seen on the flowers of umbeliferae (especially Hogweed and Angelica) but you will also find them on thistles and brambles. It is probably the most common of the Ichneumons and can be seen by day in sunshine.

The colours say 'keep away, I'm dangerous' and although harmless to humans having no bite or sting, they are far from harmless to moth caterpillers, especially those of the noctuid family. The ichneumons are parasitic, laying their eggs inside a living caterpiller and the larvae then eats the caterpiller from the inside out! Nature can seem cruel at times and yet it is fascinating too. One can feel sorry for the moth or admire the ichneumon (or may be both?).

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