Friday, 1 May 2015

A beautiful mystery

I found the most beautiful insect in the garden today. A combination of striking black, yellow and red this was a distinctive individual. I knew it was one of the Ichneumonidae, a family of parasitic wasps, and that identification would be challenge.

A little investigation led me to realise that identification was going to be impossible. There are about 2,300 of Icheumon wasps, this sheer number makes them difficult. There are also no guides or keys, and only a handful of species can be identified by an amateur entomologist. In fact there seems to be virtually no-one in the country who looks at this group, a challenge for a brave entomologist looking for a niche.

Despite the lack of identification, you can still appreciate this wonderful insect. Vene though the next time I catch one in my sweep net I may quickly let it go...

Ichneumon species

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