5 June 2010

Giant ichneumon egg laying

Today I was lucky enough to spot a female giant ichneumon, Rhyssa persuasoria, laying her egg on some hapless grub deep inside a pine log near Austford in Brede High Woods.

20100605 BHW Rhyssa persuasoria 018c

It is one of natures wonders how the insect manages to drill her ovipositor down through often quite hard wood to locate the host larva with great accuracy.  You can see in the picture how she has to curve her ovipositor up, then round in a circle to get it pointing directly downwards.

Having caught her in the act, it was not particularly difficult to photograph, but after a few shots she spotted me, gave me a glare and flew off at high speed.

I often wonder about the evolutionary history of creatures like this - is this really an easier way to survive than the innumerable alternatives, like eating mud, that other insects have evolved?

20100604 BHW baseline Cpt 4b central mud towerlets 045

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