Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Explanation of Names
A name from Greek mythology--Ophion
(Ὀφίων), was the first of the Titan gods to rule the world (Encyclopedia of Life
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)
From "The Audubon Society Field Guide to N. American Insects & Spiders"(1)
: "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 clear."
Comment by Rachel Behm:
Fore wing with vein r-rs at most slightly broadened basally, never abruptly curved; ramellus usually well-developed.
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 http://www.amentinst.org/GIN/Ophioninae/)
Forest canopies and shrubby fields
Adults are seen year-round. BG records
show adults in all months of the year in southern states and California.
Most all Ophion larva are parasites of caterpillars.
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.
The Ophion species are one of the most common Ichneumon 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
can be superficially similar.
Note the difference in wing venation:
"The Audubon Society Field Guide to N. American Insects & Spiders", page 810, plate 445(1)
"A Field Guide to the Insects of America North of Mexico", page 322 describes Ichneumons, with an illustration of an Ophion sp. on 323 (2)
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
Texas A&M University
- talks about Ichneumons in general with details on the Ophion species
Insects of Cedar Creek
- has info on Ichneumons with a photo of an Ophion species