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Giant ichneumon

Megarhyssa atrata

These insects look like large, slender wasps. They have a yellow head with a dark stripe between the eyes. The thorax and abdomen are dark, either black or dark brown. Their long legs are mainly yellow, while their four elongated, narrow wings are almost black.

Females have an impressive 12- to 15-cm long dark brown ovipositor.

This species resembles two other ichneumons found in the same habitat in Quebec: Megarhyssa macrurus and M. greenei. Giant ichneumons are recognizable by their blackish-brown abdomens. In addition, they have the longest ovipositors.

Ichneumon wasps


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.

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