Tuesday, 10 September 2013

A new bug! Giant Ichneumon Wasp - Megarhyssa macrurus

She looks so bright beside
the green lichen
Dorah and
my yellow mums
I have stumps, trees killed due to Dutch Elm Disease. I had our tree man level them off, and use them to decorate and place lawn ornaments. Usually, I am loathe to put out plants in pots. It means lugging the watering can down the 100m to the road, but I decided I wanted some colour, plus it is darn good exercise. It is great physical therapy, gardening!
Praying mantis
Yesterday, Dorah found me a Praying mantis near the stump. It seems like the big bugs are out and about. It's that time of year for eating!
Lo and behold, this new bug flew onto the stump. It ignored me, for the most part. I was afraid it would fly away when I ran for the camera, but it stayed on the stump for a long time.
I took some video, as her actions, grub hunting, are interesting!

There is a spot.
She inserted it!

Family Ichneumonidae - Ichneumon Wasps

Looking, looking

Stump Stabber Species Megarhyssa macrurus

macrurus is from Greek makros (μακρος)- "long" + oura (ουρα)- tail
[Pronounced: ick-NEW-monn!] There are thousands of them.
They can be 85mm (3 ½" long), including their ovipositor. Mine had a body about 10 cm (2") long, including the various extremities she was huge. With her long antennae she drums on the wood, looking for grubs in response to her thumps. The ovipositor was large and swollen with eggs!

I rotated this photo,
 her stripes are lovely.
She travelled down the trunk head first!
Once she finds a grub or larvae, she uses her ovipositor to lay an egg. One of my books, Bugs of Ontario, by Acorn, says that she looks like a little oil rig, digging for oil. I would agree. I sat down on the ground, trying to steady my camera. Amazed.

I had the zoom lens on, coincidentally. You should have seen me with the lens on my knees, trying to stop the jiggling, sitting about 6' away.

I was happy, once I did my research, that I was so far away. They can sting with their ovipositor, and she is a wasp.
Filled with eggs, methinks

Her head is similar to the Praying Mantis!

Stump stabber- ichneumon from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
I was watering my mums when I spotted this intriguing wasp. They travel up and down a tree stump, looking for grubs, then deposit eggs in the grubs, and the wasps larvae live off of the host grubs, eating the grub, leaving vital organs for last.


The Furry Gnome said...

Fascinating. That's one big bug! Your little videos are great!

Irene Rafael said...

i tickles me that you are so observant in nature. i probably would have missed this completely.

Cloudia said...

handsome marauder

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^= <3
> < } } ( ° >
> < 3 3 3 ( ' >

Kay L. Davies said...

Well, a stump stabber is new to me, in fact this is all news to me!
Wonderful colours on her, though.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Yikes, what a vicious beauty! Cuckoo behaviour of a rather more gruesome kind. Having seen so many wasp species over the world, this is a new one for me and well done on getting such clear shots!! It must have stayed fairly static for a decent amount of time.

Like you, I am very fond of stumps finding use beyond their original life! YAM xx

Kay L. Davies said...

Hi, it's me, I'm back nearly three years later.
Is this the type of insect whose milk is now said to be so nutritious? Something like praying mantis, or grasshopper, or cricket? I forget which.
July 2016