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wasp Yellow Ophion

Identify It >   Invertebrates Section >   Yellow Ophion >



Scientific name:  Ophion luteus

Size:  Approx 20mm long

Distribution:  Found throughout the UK.

Months seen:  February to November.  Mainly active at night and often attracted to lights

Life Span:  Approximately 9 - 12 months

Habitat:  Woodlands, farmland and gardens

Food:  The larvae live and feed inside the caterpillars of noctuid moths

Special features:  The Yellow Ophion, or Ophion luteus, is a type of ichneumon wasp.  It has a red or orange body, antennae and legs.  The wings are clear with black veins.  The abdomen is arched giving it a somewhat agressive appearance.

Yellow ophions lay their eggs inside the body of caterpillars through a hair-like ovipositor.  They have also been known to use this ovipositor in a defensive way when they feel threatened.  The 'sting' of Ophion can cause some discomfort, so it's possible that the insect injects some irritant.

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