I spotted this skinny bug in the jasmine this morning. I was chasing the blue-banded bee about with the Nikon D3000. Googling, I discovered this is most likely an orange caterpillar-parasite wasp – netelia producta.
Wikipedia has an interesting article on this wasp family…
The Ichneumonidae are a parasitoid wasp family within the order Hymenoptera. They are important parasitoids of other invertebrates; common hosts are larvae and pupae of Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, and Lepidoptera. Over 24,000 species have been described worldwide. Estimates of the total species range from 60,000 to over 100,000 – more than any other hymenopteran family.
Apparently these type of wasps caused Charles Darwin to question the existence of a benevolent God – unable to believe a kind God would create insects that fed on live caterpillars or have cats play with mice.
The white bands on the antennae probably indicate its female and the sting doubles as the ovipositer. While I was framing a shot, a bee landed on the same leaf and up went the stinger. Pity it wasn’t in focus – would have made a wonderful image. Not that I pressed the shutter. I was too busy jumping away. I thought that something so obvious might only be for show but I was a bit more careful afterward.
Thanks for looking. 🙂