Alomya debellator

Description

Medium sized (10–18mm) black wasp with broad orange bands on the abdomen and orange on the lower leg joints. In females the antenna is pale at the base and the hind tarsus is a dark reddish brown. Males have a darkly tipped third tibia and the abdomen is frequently black. Often confused with other Ichneumoninae but the relatively stout legs and antennae are quite distinctive, along with the wide, hairy clypeus at the base of the face.

Similar Species

Very similar to Alomya semiflava, however, this species only flies in August and September and the hind wing nervellus is intercepted higher. In comparison, both the base of the antenna and the hind tarsus of the female A. semiflava are dark. In the male, the hind tibia is entirely testaceous and is rarely all black.

Identification difficulty
Habitat

Hedgerows and meadows. Often found feeding on aphid honeydew and umbellifers. Females often found on the ground hunting for swift moth larvae.

When to see it

May to September

Life History

The adults feed on nectar and aphid honeydew. The female lays her eggs into the caterpillars of butterflies and moths. The larvae feed on the body of the host when they hatch.

UK Status

Found quite frequently throughout Britain, but not well recorded.

VC55 Status

Uncommon or under-recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Further Information

Its host is probably a swift moth (genus Hepialus) but it has not been reared. The similar Alomya semiflava parasitises caterpillars of the common swift, which it mummifies.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map

MAP KEY:

Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map