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Subfamily Ophioninae - Short-tailed Ichneumonid Wasps

Spider Wasp with Orange Antanee - Thyreodon atricolor Enicospilus purgatus - female Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp - Ophion Hymenoptera? - Simophion excarinatus Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp - Ophion - male Wasp with convulsions - Enicospilus Short-tailed Ichneumon Wasp - Ophion Enicospilus 3 From Florida - Enicospilus - female
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon ("Parasitica" - Parasitoid Wasps)
Superfamily Ichneumonoidea (Braconid and Ichneumonid Wasps)
Family Ichneumonidae (Ichneumonid Wasps)
Subfamily Ophioninae (Short-tailed Ichneumonid Wasps)
Explanation of Names
Ophioninae = from the Greek Ὀφίων (Ophion), the first of the Titans to rule the world, + -inae (taxonomic subfamily suffix)
short-tailed = in reference to the short, inconspicuous ovipositors of the females in contrast to the prominent, often long ovipositors found in most other subfamilies. This trait is not, however, unique to this subfamily. Other prominent families include Diplazontinae, Eucerotinae, Ichneumoninae, and Metopiinae.
at least 54 recognized spp. (+ ~33 undescribed) in 7 genera north of Mexico; 32 genera worldwide arranged into 5 genus-groups worldwide(1)(2)(3)

Overview of our fauna
Subfamily Ophioninae
Tribe Enicospilini
Genus Enicospilus: 23 spp.
Tribe Ophionini
Genus Ophion: 17 spp. (+ ~33 undescribed)
Tribe Thyreodonini
Genus Eremotylus: 5 spp.
Genus Rhynchophion: 1 (2?) spp.
Genus Thyreodon: 6 spp.
Tribe incertae sedis
Genus Simophion: 1 sp.
Genus Trophophion: 1 sp.
6-29 mm
The following characters will identify most Ophioninae (except for a few Eremotylus): Cell 3Cu of fore wing with adventitious vein originating at 2/1A, and parallel to wing margin. Cell 1M+1R1 of fore wing often with area below stigma lacking setae (fenestra) and with sclerotized inclusions. Ocelli usually large, with lateral ocelli close to or contiguous with eyes. Abdomen laterally compressed, often with a rounded "knob" between the first and second segments. Ovipositor short, barely extending beyond metasomal apex (with rare exceptions). Tarsal claws usually densely pectinate. Body color usually pale brownish-orange, rarely black or red.(4)

Comparison of Wing Venation

Enicospilus: forewing r-rs vein sinuous; ramellus always absent; cell 2M short; discosubmarginal cells often with sclerite inclusions

Eremotylus: forewing r-rs vein basally thickened and curved; ramellus absent or nearly so

Ophion: forewing r-rs vein straight and not thickened; ramellus usually present

Rhynchophion: pterostigma narrowed to evanescent; Rs vein centrally straight with a distinct angle with 3rs-m; wings often very brightly pigmented

Simophion: forewing r-rs vein basally thickened and curved; ramellus absent; Rs vein centrally dipped

Thyreodon: pterostigma narrowed to evanescent; r-rs vein sinuous; Rs vein centrally straight with a distinct angle with 3rs-m; wings usually very darkly pigmented throughout

Trophophion: forewing r-rs vein basally thickened and curved; ramellus absent
Wide range of habitats. Most species are crepuscular or nocturnal, some diurnal. They are known to come to lights.
Solitary koinobiont endoparasitoids of the larvae of other holometabolous insects, mostly Lepidoptera, although a Nearctic species of Ophion is known to parasitize a beetle larva(5); the most usual hosts are moth larvae that feed exposed on vegetation, especially members of Noctuidae, Lasiocampidae, Lymantriidae, Saturniidae, Geometridae, Arctiidae, and Sphingidae.(6)
Life Cycle
summarized in(6)
The ovipositor can penetrate human skin to sting.
Print References
Hooker, Charles W. (1912). The Ichneumom flies of America belonging to the tribe Ophionini. Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 38:1-176. (Full Text)(7)