A Darwin Wasp

I managed to glimpse this insect on some Hogweed flowers (not Giant Hogweed – I haven’t seen any of that dangerous and poisonous plant in the village so far). This little creature is a solitary parasitic wasp belonging to a group of 32 families and 6,600 different species in the British Isles. It is an Ichneumon wasp and gets its common name from Charles Darwin who studied these insects in great detail.

Given the number of species, it is difficult to be confidant which one this is – but I would hazard a guess at the Yellow-striped or Tiger Darwin Wasp (Ichneumon xanthorius) but I am not certain. This insect group has an interesting and somewhat macabre lifestyle. The adult lays her eggs inside the larvae and pupae of moths of certain types; the eggs hatch and the larvae slowly eat the internal soft body parts of the host organism while it is still alive; then they pupate and ultimately break out of the husk of the host when they hatch. Nice!