Sabre Wasp

The Sabre Wasp (Rhyssa persuasoria) is an insect in the Ichneumonidae family of wasps. It is also known as the Giant Ichneumon Wasp or the Persuasive Burglar.

The Sabre Wasp has a thin black body with several whitish spots on its head, thorax, and abdomen. It has reddish legs. Its antennae are long and thin. It has two pairs of wings. The female has a very long stinger and ovipositor, which is used to lay eggs. The male does not have a stinger or an ovipositor. 

Sabre Wasp (female)

It grows up to 1-2 centimetres (about half an inch) in length. The female’s ovipositor (long egg-laying tail) measures 2-4 centimetres (1-1.5 inches) in length. 

It is common across most of Europe. It prefers coniferous or mixed woodlands. It is often seen around piles of logs. It is usually seen from July to August. 

It feeds on the juice of pine needles or honeydew. 

The female drills into the bark of a dead tree with her ovipositor and lays eggs on larvae (grubs) living in the wood. The eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae pupate and adult wasps emerge.

Location of photograph: Paris, France

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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