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Rhyssa persuasoria

Rhyssa persuasoria

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Rhyssa persuasoria, the Giant Ichneumon, is a species belonging to the family Ichneumonidae
Ichneumonidae is a family within the insect order Hymenoptera. Insects in this family are commonly called ichneumon wasps. Less exact terms are ichneumon flies , or scorpion wasps due to the extreme lengthening and curving of the abdomen...

 subfamily Rhyssinae.

It is found in most of Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, in the Australasian ecozone, in the Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

, in the Nearctic ecozone, in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 and in the Oriental ecozone.

Rhyssa persuasoria (meaning persuasive burglar) is one of the largest ichneumon wasp in Europe. The length of adults varies from about 10–20 mm (0.393700787401575–0.78740157480315 ) in males up to 20–40 mm (0.78740157480315–1.6 ) in the females, plus about 20–40 mm (0.78740157480315–1.6 ) of the ovipositor. They have a thin black body, several whitish spots on the head, thorax, and abdomen and reddish legs. The antennae are long and thin. The long stinger on the abdomen of the females is just an egg laying instrument (ovipositor
The ovipositor is an organ used by some animals for oviposition, i.e., the laying of eggs. It consists of a maximum of three pairs of appendages formed to transmit the egg, to prepare a place for it, and to place it properly...

), therefore these wasps are harmless to humans.

They can mainly be encountered from July through August, especially in paths and clearings of coniferous forests.

Female of this parasitic species drills deep into wood by its hair thin ovipositor (terebra) and lays its grubs on larvae living in timber, which become a food supply and an incubator for the progeny, until it is fully grown. Larvae overwinter, pupating in the next Spring, when they emerge from the wood.

Main hosts of Rhyssa persuasoria are the larvae of Horntail
Horntail or wood wasp is the common name for any of the 100 non-social species of the family Siricidae, of the order Hymenoptera, a type of xylophagous sawfly...

 or Wood Wasps (Urocerus gigas
Urocerus gigas
The Giant Woodwasp, Banded Horntail, or Greater Horntail is a species of Sawfly, native to the Holarctic and North Africa. Adults are usually between 10 to 40mm in length.Subspecies include:...

, Siricidae species, a type of xylophagous sawfly
Sawfly is the common name for insects belonging to suborder Symphyta of the order Hymenoptera. Sawflies are distinguishable from most other Hymenoptera by the broad connection between the abdomen and the thorax, and by their caterpillar-like larvae...

), as well as larvae of Longhorn Beetle
Longhorn beetle
The longhorn beetles are a cosmopolitan family of beetles, typically characterized by extremely long antennae, which are often as long as or longer than the beetle's body...

 (Spondylis buprestoides, Monochamus sutor) and Great Capricorn Beetle (Cerambyx cerdo).


  • Rhyssa persuasoria var. himalayensis Wilkinson, 1927
  • Rhyssa persuasoria var. nepalensis Kamath & Gupta, 1972
  • Rhyssa persuasoria var. nigrofacialis Meyer, 1922

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