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Insects and other arthropods

Ichneumon wasps

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Tabs group

Description

These insects generally resemble wasps, but their antennae are longer and more segmented.

In many species, the female’s abdomen ends in a filament even longer than the rest of the body. This egg-laying organ is called an ovipositor.

The vast ichneumon group comprises thousands of species, ranging widely in size (from 3 to 50 mm long) and coloration. Many are a single colour, varying from yellowish to black, while others are bicoloured, black and brown or black and yellow.

Life cycle

The females lay their eggs on or inside the caterpillars, pupae or chrysalises of live insects.

The host serves as food for the young insect once it emerges from the egg. Ichneumon larvae pupate after devouring almost all of the host’s body. The insect spends some time in this immobile state, and then emerges as an adult.

Many ichneumons hibernate in the adult state, concealed under bark or fallen trees.

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