Sabre Wasp - Rhyssa persuasoria


Sometimes called the Giant Ichneumon, this is the largest ichneumon in Britain and one of the largest in Europe (10–40 mm). An easy species to identify due to the striking pattern of small white spots along the entire length of the thin, black body (not just the abdomen), red legs, long ovipositor and large size . If you look closely you should also see it has transverse ridges on the top of the thorax, at the front, which it uses to brace itself as it emerges from the wooden burrow it has pupated. Large females are the largest ichneumonids in Britain, though some can be considerably smaller. The ovipositor is longer than the length of the body.

Identification difficulty

It is normally found in coniferous or mixed woodland

When to see it

Peaking in July and August

Life History

It searches for the larvae of Horntails or Longhorn Beetles which have buried in fallen timber. The female then uses her ovipositor to drill down to the larvae and then lay an egg which hatches and parasitise the host.

UK Status

Local but fairly frequent and widespread in Britain

VC55 Status

Uncommon in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map

Species profile

Species group:
Bees, Wasps, Ants
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
27/08/2007 (Ellison, Lorraine)
Last record:
07/06/2022 (Harris, Steve)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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