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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!

07 December, 2016

Echthrus reluctator: an ichneumon

The main reason why I write my nature notes is so that I can research a species and find out much more about it. With my collection of books together wite Google and Wikipedia I usually come up with some facts that I did not know about my subject for the day. Today the Internet has met its match! Whilst Google does return a few options for the ichneumon fly Echthrus reluctator there is no information of note anywhere about it!

So, what do I know? Well, firstly I am pretty certain that this is the ichneumon Echthrus reluctator, everything about its visual characteristics matches available images elsewhere and there are a number on the Internet. Secondly, as an ichneumon I know that it will predate another insect by laying eggs in either the adult or the larvae of its host and, thanks to my big book of insects, I know this to be wood boring beetles. It follows, therefore, that this is a woodland species. I also know it is not a common species, it being described as 'local'. Beyond that I am stuck.

That said, I do know it occurs in the woodland near Shipstal at Arne as I saw several crawling over a ragwort plant by the dragonfly ponds in mid-summer. They were a bit difficult to photograph so I apologise for the quality of the image.

Echthrus reluctator: an ichneumon