Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Family
    Ichneumonidae
    Super Family
    Ichneumonoidea
    Suborder
    Apocrita
    Order
    Hymenoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Number of Species
    2000
  • Size Range
    2.5 cm

Introduction

The family Ichneumonidae is one of the largest groups within the hymenopterans (wasps, bees, ants and sawflies), with around 2,000 Australian species.

Identification

Ichneumonid wasps have long antennae with 16 or more segments, whereas most other wasps have 13 or less. Some female ichneumonid wasps have a very long ovipositor (a tube-like structure for laying eggs) which is used to reach insect larvae such as wood grubs which burrow in bark and wood. This is a modification of the sting that is present in other wasps, so most ichneumonid wasps cannot sting humans, with the exception of the larger orange species in the subfamily Ophioninae. Wasps in the family Ichneumonidae are superficially similar to the related family Braconidae, but ichneumonids are usually larger insects, and differ in details such as the pattern of wing veins and the structure of the abdomen.

Habitat

Ichneumonid wasps live in urban areas, woodlands and forests, wetlands.

Distribution

Ichneumonid wasps are found throughout Australia.

Feeding and diet

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Other behaviours and adaptations

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Communication

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Life history cycle

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Economic impacts

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Predators

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Management

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Danger to humans

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Evolutionary relationships

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References

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Further reading

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