Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Spotting the spots

Things are really autumnal here. The weather has come down like a soggy lid and the first leaves are falling. This means, sadly, that my trapping season is almost done. I shall tuck everything away on Saturday. No moths at the moment either, because of the continual drizzle, but this small creature has spent a few days in our house. He, or she, first appeared last week when I was in France, joining Penny as she had her lonely supper. It was back again yesterday, hiding under my bowl of watercress soup. Sorry about the rather blurry pictures, but the beetle - assuming that's what it is - was extremely lively, although it seemed to get its legs stuck from time to time on our kitchen table. I wonder if they have some sort of secretion or little hairs/spikes which help them to grip in their usual habitat. Penny carefully put it outdoors, but maybe it will find a way of creeping back in. Does anyone know what it is? I have Googled assorted references to 'beetle, black,white and spots' but so far to no avail. I specially like the way the black-and-white livery applies to the antennae too.

Success! Dean has kindly identified this as an Ichneumon Wasp - a dreadful enemy of butterflies, moths and caterpillars. See comments, and here's a better pic of one, courtesy of Gary WK's website: www.pbase.com/bowdood/insects&page=all


Anonymous said...

Hi Martin. It`s one of the Ichneumon Wasps. Very difficult family to identify.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi Dean - thanks very much. I did find them on Google and wondered, but wasn't sure. Interestingly enough (at least to me), I used to greatly dislike ichneumon flies in my youth on account of their injecting their eggs into caterpillars who then acted as unwilling hosts until their guests had eaten them up. Yuk. For some reason, I also took against L Hugh Newman, the son of the BBC's 'butterfly man'. I think maybe he was a bit too much of a commercial seller of butterflies. Anyway, we used to call him IchNewman. Thanks again and all warm wishes, Martin