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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

25 September, 2016

Ichneumon suspiciosus: an ichneumon fly

Although there are several similar species Ichneumon suspiciosus is one of the most common so applying my rule that I am statistically more likely to see a common species than a rare one I am going for suspiciosus. It has the half brown/half black abdomen, the orange legs and the yellow triangle just behind the head all of which tie in, I believe.
Ichneumons are parasitic insects and lay their eggs in the body of the larva of another creatures, moth caterpillars are the host of many including this species; the female ichneumons have a long sharp ovipositor for this very purpose. They are related to bees and wasps and that long ovipositor could be mistaken for a sting but, in general, they are harmless to humans although they can look pretty fierce!
Ichneumon suspiciosus: is very common on umbel flowers, especially hogweed, in summer and, unusually perhaps, the adult overwinters by hibernating just like queen bees and wasps

Ichneumon suspiciosus: an ichneumon fly