Ophion obscuratus agg.


Length: 15 to 22 mm. Ophion obscuratus is identified the pale stripes on the thorax and by pale corners of the 'stigma' (the dark mark on the leading edge of the forewing). Many species of Ophion look similar therefore field identification is difficult. When viewed dorsally they have a long narrow reddish brown body but from a side view, the thin curved waist broadens out to a deep abdominal region.  We have been informed recently that there is some debate about Ophion obscuratus and it may need to be split into more than one species.  We have therefore decided to treat it as an aggregate until things are resolved. The species that flies in winter might not have a name at present, although it is common and widespread.

Similar Species

Other Ophion species - but none with the pale thoracic stripes.

Identification difficulty
When to see it

Nearly all year as it flies through the winter. Absent only in June and July. It is attracted to light so often found in moth traps.

Life History

Females lay their eggs in the caterpillars of various noctuid moths. Because of this, they have no need of the long ovipositors which many of the other ichneumons need to reach deep-seated wood-boring larvae.

UK Status

A fairly common species in Britain

VC55 Status

Fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map