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8:09AM

Tales from the trap

Ichneumons wasps are a very difficult group to identify, with several thousand British species, additions to the list every year and keys which are in general out of date. Consequently, in about 30 years as an entomologist I have managed to reliably name about five species! In the last couple of years however I have had access to the 'UK bees, ants and wasps' Facebook  group which is frequented by some knowledgable hymenopterists, including a few specialising in parasitic wasps, and this has helped me make some progress with these difficult critters. This wasp was taken in the pitfalls on the new saltmarsh in August last year and was provisionally identified as a Lissonota by Jaswinder Boparai of the Natural History Museum (though I've still got to run it through the keys to confirm). This is a large genus which parasitises a range of lepidopteran hosts, so I'm still not guaranteed to get it to species but it's a start!

 

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