Friday, September 19, 2008

Finally a use for Ground Elder

I found this Ichneumon wasp on 23/06/08 in my back garden. It is feeding on the umbel flower of the diabolical weed - Ground elder. I have identified it as Amblyteles armatorius.
These insects are parasitoids and most species attack the caterpillars of butterflies and moths. The ichneumon usually pierces the host with its ovipositor and lays its egg or eggs inside the host body, but some species merely lay their eggs on the outside of the host.
The ichneumon larvae concentrate on the non-essential organs of the host at first, draining its reserves but allowing it to go on living. When the ichneumon grubs are nearly fully grown they turn their attention to the essential organs of the host and kill it. They then pupate in little silken cocoons.
My son Paul will be pleased to know that these wasps are actually stingless.