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Giant Ichneumon Wasp Large, thin-bodied wasp. Females are very dark black and yellow. They are parasitoids of wood-boring insects in dead, deciduous trees.When a female is ready to oviposit her eggs, she rotates segments 8 and 9 of her abdomen and unfolds her intersegmentary membranes so that they form a disc 2 cm in diameter. The surface of this disc produces a secretion that disintegrates the wooden substrate and facilitates her ability to insert her ovipositor. After she lays her eggs on the surface of the host larva she completes the same rotational movements to remove her ovipositor from the wood and the stylus returns to its resting position. This entire process takes an hour. Geotagged,Giant Ichneumon Wasp,Megarhyssa atrata,Spring,United States,wasp Click/tap to enlarge PromotedSpecies introCountry intro

Giant Ichneumon Wasp

Large, thin-bodied wasp. Females are very dark black and yellow. They are parasitoids of wood-boring insects in dead, deciduous trees.When a female is ready to oviposit her eggs, she rotates segments 8 and 9 of her abdomen and unfolds her intersegmentary membranes so that they form a disc 2 cm in diameter. The surface of this disc produces a secretion that disintegrates the wooden substrate and facilitates her ability to insert her ovipositor. After she lays her eggs on the surface of the host larva she completes the same rotational movements to remove her ovipositor from the wood and the stylus returns to its resting position. This entire process takes an hour.

    comments (14)

  1. Mind blown! I've never seen or heard about this behavior. Posted one year ago
    1. I wish I had taken video of it because it was amazing. I stood and watched the entire process. it was so cool! Posted one year ago
      1. So you saw it by chance? Or did you anticipate and wait for it? Posted one year ago
        1. I saw it by chance while hiking. Complete accident - I had stopped to rest against a fallen tree, which the wasp had just started boring into! So, I got to watch the entire process, which was a challenge because my kids were with me and they were 5 and 2 years old at the time...not ideal ages to have to stay in one spot for nearly an hour, lol. Posted one year ago
  2. Great experience! Thanks for sharing! Posted one year ago
    1. Thanks Jivko, it was awesome! Posted 10 months ago
  3. Here's a video that shows a similar wasp drilling into a tree:
    Posted 10 months ago
    1. Excellent, this post keeps on delivering! what an artful parasite it is. How does she detect the larvae? How does she know how deep to drill? Posted 10 months ago
      1. It's amazing...And, as the wasp matures (inside the tree), it chews its way out to begin its life as an adult. Adult male wasps, eager to mate with newly emerged females, can actually discern wood-chewing vibrations and use their antennae to detect the pheromones. So, males will gather on a tree where they can "hear" and "smell" a female chewing her way out and they will wait for her to emerge so they can mate. Posted 10 months ago
        1. Now if that isn't love! Posted 10 months ago
          1. It's at least a male's version of love, haha. Posted 10 months ago
            1. I take that as you referring to the incredible patience of the male, yes fully agree :) Posted 10 months ago
  4. Amazing photo and behavior! Bravo Posted 10 months ago
    1. Thanks Barry! Posted 10 months ago

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''Megarhyssa atrata'' is a species of large ichneumon wasp. It is known from North America, where it is found from Quebec, Michigan, Ohio and North and South Carolina to Florida. Adults are on wing from May to July. The larvae are parasitoids of the larvae of the woodwasp ''Tremex columba'' in dead deciduous trees.

Species identified by Christine Young
View Christine Young's profile

By Christine Young

All rights reserved
Uploaded Jan 4, 2018. Captured Jun 8, 2013 02:28 in 25 Skiff Mountain Rd, Kent, CT 06757, USA.
  • Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XTi
  • f/5.6
  • 1/125s
  • ISO400
  • 100mm