1st August


High coniferous plantation.


I've decided to put up only one picture for today. Nothing else deserves to be on this page.


Sunny and warm.

This is the most readily identifiable Ichneumon Wasp - Rhyssa persuasoria. It is parasitic on the larvae of the Wood Wasp, which live in tunnels buried deep inside trees. The long rear legs are required to hold the body high off the tree trunk whilst the long (4 cm!) ovipositor is drilled down into the tunnel, and the egg is deposited near the victim.

This is the largest ichneumon in Ireland or Britain. This specimen was 8 cm. long from antennae to tip of the ovipositor, as shown.

What makes the drilling feat even more impressive is that the actual ovipositor (or egg-laying tube) is held inside the sheath you can see in the picture. It is finer than a human hair. Somehow, the Rhyssa is able to detect the precise location of the grub and place its egg accurately through centimetres of wood.

A truly remarkable creature, and a very beautiful one, too.

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