Ichneumon Wasp -a unique initial journey of Life!

Belonging to the largest parasitoid superfamily Ichneumonoidea, the Ichneumon wasp feeds upon and kills their hosts to survive.

The Ichneumonidae are parasitoid wasp family within the order Hymenoptera. In general, parasitoids kill their hosts of Coleoptera (beetles), Hymenoptera (wasps) and Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies).

The beginning of the life cycle starts with oviposition. Female Megarryhssamacrurus (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) are specialized in laying their eggs on the hosts like wood eating Pigeon Tremax Horntail larvae.

The total sequential steps of oviposition are quite impressive and complex as well. Though it is a lengthy process, yet the female wasp does it with real patience. Only a single egg is deposited for host larva. Eggs act like ectoparasitoids – whereas parasite lives externally on another animal and finally kills it or eggs are oviposited directly to the host larvae. At the onset of hatching, the larva begins to feed on the horizontal larva and eventually pupate, undergoing a complete metamorphosis. The sensitive antenna of the female wasp plays a significant role in locating the drilling spot. Drilling is not an easy task because of the tiny irregularities on the wood surface. At first glance, the ovipositor seems like a single filament but on examining closer, we notice that it has three filaments. The middle filament is the ovipositor which drills into wood. The other two thin filaments (valvulae) serve as protection for the ovipositor. They arc out to the sides during egg laying. The egg is passed into the cavity during a flexing or ‘COCKING’ movement of the abdomen. The egg moves down the minute channel in the center during egg laying. Oviposition are generally very exhausting where many a time, it has been noticed that the ovipositor being pulled half way back. The sequential steps last more than 40 minutes making the female wasp vulnerable to many threats. Once the young wasp emerges i.e around a year of oviposition of the egg, it lives for up to 27 days until it mates and oviposit.


About the Author /

He is a nature insect photographer. He prefers to create his own brand of documentary photography on insect life which conveys an emotional connection with the small insect world and explores new avenues to create awareness among people. He travels widely in the wildlife and wild places. He works majorly in remote areas, often choosing to work with a particular species. It is his desire to immerse himself completely into his subject to capture moments for the photo story of insect behavior that have seldom been seen before, let alone photographed. His articles on insect life have been published on many leading wildlife magazines.

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