Ichneumon Wasp  (three photos)
"Short-tailed Ichneumon"
Genus Ophion
13 mm

tiny ichneumon wasp
Ichneumon Wasps of the genus Ophion dine primarily on caterpillars. This female one is so small, it's a wonder
  she can dine on anthing larger than an ant.  From the tip of her head to the end of her adbomen this tiny wasp
is only 13 mm and the antennae are as long, if not longer, than the entire insect.

orange wasp
The black knob at the end of the abdomen is the ovipositor and is extremely short in this genus.  The ovipositor is what the
female uses to deposit an egg inside a caterpillar.  When the egg hatches the larva grows inside and feeds off the host
 until the host dies.  The wasp then pupates inside the remains.  It's a crappy job, but they seem to take it on
willingly (I sure don't want to do it!)

Here's a top view of this beautiful wasp showing the two large compound eyes and the three small simple eyes.
I think the pattern on the thorax is beautiful. Visit Wikipedia to learn more about Ichneumon Wasps. 
All photos © Carol Davis 4-22-2010

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