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Genus Ophion

Wasp - Ophion Ophion Wasp, but which? - Ophion Odd insect - Ophion Ichneumon Wasps - Ophion Wasp looking flying insect - Ophion Ammophila wasp - Ophion Ophion sp. - Ophion
Classification
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)
Genus Ophion
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Ophion Fabricius, 1798
= Paniscus Schrank, 1802
= Psylonychia Szepligeti, 1905
= Stenophthalmus Szepligetim, 1905 - junior homonym of the fly genus Stenophthalmus Becker, 1903
= Pachyprotoma Kohl, 1906
= Australophion Morley, 1912
= Neophion Morley, 1912
= Platophion Hellen, 1926
= Apatophion Shestakov, 1926
= Potophion Cushman, 1947
= Apomesus Townes, 1971
= Mecetron Townes, 1971
Explanation of Names
Ophion Fabricius, 1798
named after Ophion (Ὀφίων), the first of the Titans in Greek mythology to rule the world and predecessor to Cronus (EOL, Web Archive)
derived from the Ancient Greek ὄφις (ophis) - 'serpent'
Numbers
"In the Nearctic region, 17 species are currently described (Yu et al., 2012; Schwarzfeld & Sperling, 2014), although it has been estimated based on morphology that there are approximately 50 Nearctic species (Gauld, 1985) and recent molecular analyses suggest there are many more (Schwarzfeld & Sperling, 2015)." - Schwarzfeld, Broad, & Sperling (2016)

1. Ophion aureus Schwarzfeld, 2014
2. Ophion bilineatus Say, 1829: sw. IN? (no remaining type material known)(1)
3. Ophion brevipunctatus Schwarzfeld, 2014
4. Ophion clave Schwarzfeld, 2014
5. Ophion coloradensis (Felt, 1904): CO(1)
6. Ophion crassus (Morley, 1912): NS(1)
7. Ophion dombroskii Schwarzfeld, 2014
8. Ophion elongatus Hooker 1912: AZ, CO, NM(1)
9. Ophion epallidus Walkley 1958: s. CO(1)
10. Ophion flavidus Brulle 1846: NY south to FL; west to ne. KS to TX(1)
11. Ophion idoneus Viereck 1905: MA west to MB; south to n. VA, TN, and ne. KS(1)
12. Ophion importunus Schwarzfeld, 2014
13. Ophion keala Schwarzfeld, 2014
14. Ophion magniceps Hooker 1912: CA, MT?
15. Ophion nigrovarius Provancher 1874: NS south to n. VA; west to MN, CO, and TX
16. Ophion slossonae Davis 1893: widespread eastern (NH west to SD; south to n. GA and s. TX)
17. Ophion tityri Packard 1881: MA, MI, NJ, NY(1)
Size
10-19 mm
Identification
Overview of Generic Traits
From "The Audubon Society Field Guide to N. American Insects & Spiders"(2): "Abdomen long, compressed on the sides. Body pale yellow to reddish brown. Antennae and legs long, pale. Ovipositor of female barely visible at tip of abdomen. Wings [usually!] clear."

Comment by Rachel Behm: "Fore wing with vein r-rs at most slightly broadened basally, never abruptly curved; ramellus usually well-developed." (see diagram)
Comment by Jon Hoskins: "There is at least one species of Ophion in our area with an undeveloped or absent ramellus; however, this is the only ophionine genus in our area where a ramellus will be present. In cases where the ramellus is undeveloped, the strongly angular, roughly equilateral (not distinctly flattened) cell 2M is useful for identification, as is the entirely straight vein r-rs."


Base of T2 with distinct median raised area that is semicircular or subtriangular in shape and bounded by weak impression.


Occipital carina complete


Fore tibial spur with membranous flange along its mesal face on posterior side, this in addition to similarly-shaped antennal brush of closely-spaced setae on anterior side (Source: Subfamily OPHIONINAE By Ian D. Gauld & David B. Wahl AEI)

Overview of Species
A revision and key to Canadian species of the scutellaris group is included in Schwarzfeld & Sperling (2014).(3) A few distinctive species are noted below:
O. dombroskii is unique in its black-colored face and thorax and shorter antennal segments. This species may also be diurnal instead of nocturnal.(3)
O. nigrovarius has a buccate head (long malar space, broad temple, and broader space between the compound eyes and ocelli) and frequently distinctive black markings such as along the thoracic sutures.(4)(5)
O. slossonae is distinctive in its large size and strongly blackened wings.(4)(5)

Sex Determination (Terminalia)
Males: Ovipositor absent.


Females: Ovipositor present, generally inconspicuous and not protruding beyond the apex of the gaster.
Range
Holarctic
Habitat
Forest canopies and shrubby fields
Season
Adults are seen year-round. BG records show adults in all months of the year in southern states and California.
Food
Most all Ophion larva are parasitoids of caterpillars. An exception is O. nigrovarius, which parasitizes may beetles.(5)
Life Cycle
Adult Ophion species will hunt for their host caterpillar. Usually one egg is laid per host. Caterpillar usually dies during pupal stage though wasp larva remains to pupate itself.
Remarks
The species of Ophion are one of the most common ichneumonid wasps in the U.S.
"Ophion is by far the most abundant and diverse ophionine genus in virtually all habitats across the Holarctic region (Gauld, 1980, 1988)"- Schwarzfeld et al 2016
They are often attracted to artificial lights
See Also
Enicospilus, Eremotylus, and Netelia can be superficially similar. Note the difference in wing venation (seerefer to labeled figures by the American Entomological Institute):

Ophion - ramellus usually present, cell 2M approximately as wide as tall, r-rs vein straight


Enicospilus - ramellus absent, cell 2M usually conspicuously wider than tall, r-rs vein sinuous


Eremotylus - ramellus absent in our species, cell 2M approximately as wide as tall or slightly wider, r-rs vein abruptly curved and widened at the base


Netelia - ramellus present, small triangular areolet usually present (absent in Ophioninae), r-rs vein straight, Rs vein strongly and abruptly curved at base (never abruptly in Ophioninae), cell 2M wider than tall and conspicuously curved outward
Print References
"The Audubon Society Field Guide to N. American Insects & Spiders", page 810, plate 445(2)
"A Field Guide to the Insects of America North of Mexico", page 322 describes ichneumonids, with an illustration of an Ophion sp. on 323 (6)
Schwarzfeld, Marla D. et. al. 2016. Molecular phylogeny of the diverse parasitoid wasp genus Ophion Fabricius (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae: Ophioninae). Systematic Entomology 41:191–206 (online at CNC)
Krombein, K. V., Hurd, P. D., Smith, D. R., & Burks, B. D. (1979). Catalog of Hymenoptera in America north of Mexico (Vol. 1, pp. 1199-2209). Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. (Relevant Text)(7)
Internet References
Texas A&M University (Web Archive) - discusses ichneumonids in general with details on the Ophion species
Insects of Cedar Creek - has info on ichneumonids with a link to a photo of an Ophion species
Works Cited
1.Carlson R.W. () Ichneumonidae catalog
2.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.
3.Species delimitation using morphology, morphometrics, and molecules: definition of the Ophion scutellaris Thomson species group
Marla D. Schwarzfeld & Felix A. H. Sperling. 2014. ZooKeys 462: pp. 59-114.
4.The Ichneumon Flies of America Belonging to the Tribe Ophionini
Charles W. Hooker. 1912. Transactions of the American Entomological Society, vol. 34.
5.Systematics and diversity of Ichneumonidae, with an emphasis on the taxonomically neglected genus Ophion Fabricius
Marla D. Schwarzfeld. 2013. University of Alberta.
6.A Field Guide to Insects
Richard E. White, Donald J. Borror, Roger Tory Peterson. 1998. Houghton Mifflin Co.
7.Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico
Karl V. Krombein, Paul D. Hurd, Jr., David R. Smith, and B. D. Burks. 1979. Smithsonian Institution Press.
8.Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)
9.BOLD: The Barcode of Life Data Systems