Ichneumon wasps – good or bad for monarchs?

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  • #13921


    Hi all,

    I found an ichneumon wasp on our swan plant and don’t know if he’s good (i.e. predating the strange green caterpillars that are eating the swan-plant’s flowers) or bad (i.e. parasitizing monarch caterpillars). It has a black abdomen with white stripes, red legs, long antennae and a long ovipositor (I have a good photo if that helps). Any ideas?



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  • #22362


    Hi all, as Blutterfy points out there are a great number of Ichneumon wasps in New Zealand, so I was waiting for the photo
    of it before commenting. The photo is of the Lemon tree borer parasite (Xanthrocryptus novozealandicus) a New Zealand
    native wasp that actually pushes her egg laying spike through the wood to reach the grub in the tree and lay her eggs inside it. A number of wood boring species are targeted, borer that infest citrus trees, grapevines and some native trees, so this one is a good wasp.
    The Ichneumon wasp that targets butterfly and
    moth caterpillars (Echthromorpha intricatoria)is very similar, but has white spots on its abdomen instead of the stripes that this one has.



    I am sure the photo is of an Ichneumon wasp which lays its eggs in caterpillars which then feed the wasp larvae.

    There are over 100 species of Ichneumon in NZ. They parasitise caterpillars, weevils, beetle larvae among others. Most live in burrows in the ground and the larvae of some make tunnels in trees, making them a plantation forest pest.

    One of the Ichneumon wasps is commonly known as the bloodsucker. It does NOT suck blood, but I have been stung by one, and they give a hell of a sting that lasts for hours. They are not usually aggressive however, but I had stood on it – so fair enough




    Hi Bruce

    Norm will probably identify it just from your description, but if you can, please email the photograph to photos@monarch.org.nz and it will appear on the website eventually. I’ll post the url here when it does.



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