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Subfamily Ophioninae - Short-tailed Ichneumonid Wasps

Ichneumon Wasp - Enicospilus purgatus - female Big Ichneumon pretending to be a tarantula hawk - Rhynchophion flammipennis Ichneumon Wasp - Enicospilus purgatus Ichneumon - Ophion Orange-costa ichneumonoid - Enicospilus purgatus Ophion Enicospilus purgatus? - Enicospilus purgatus Ophioninae? - Ophion
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.
32 genera worldwide arranged into 5 genus-groups; 58 spp. in 7 genera north of Mexico (plus 2 synonyms of Eremotylus formerly treated as genera)(1)(2) (Taxapad)
6-29 mm
Ocelli usually large. Females have a very compressed abdomen and a short, very sharp ovipositor. The ovipositor can penetrate the human skin; most other ichneumons can't 'sting'.

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. Ocelli usually large, with lateral ocelli close to or contiguous with eyes. Body color usually pale brownish-orange, rarely black. Ovipositor short, barely extending beyond metasomal apex (with rare exceptions). Cell 1M+1R1 of fore wing often with area below stigma lacking setae (fenestra) and with sclerotized inclusions. Tarsal claws usually densely pectinate.(3)
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(4); the most usual hosts are moth larvae that feed exposed on vegetation, especially members of Noctuidae, Lasiocampidae, Lymantriidae, Saturniidae, Geometridae, Arctiidae, and Sphingidae.(5)
Life Cycle
summarized in(5)
Print References
Hooker, Charles W. (1912). The Ichneumom flies of America belonging to the tribe Ophionini. Trans. Am. Ent. Soc. 38:1-176. (Full Text)