Giant Ichneumon Wasp - Megarhyssa atrata
I've chased a few of these monsters around before, but never got one to sit (or hang) for a portrait. They are the largest of the wasps and are striking to see. The body is huge at about 3-1/2" nose-to-tail. The females, such as this one, have an ovipositor extending out the back over twice as long as the body. The overall package is about 11" long making it the longest insect I've ever seen. The ovipositor can be mistaken for a stinger. Fortunately, these wasps don't sting. If the ovipositor was a stinger this girl could stick it in one of my ears and it would come out the other! While quite intimidating looking , these girls are helpful to have around. They use their antenna to feel vibrations inside of trees caused by wood-boring horntail wasps. They then use their ovipositor to bore deep into the tree and deposit their eggs in the horntail nests where they hatch and feed off the horntail larvae. There are three different Ichneumon species in this area. They are all different sizes, but all prey on the horntails. They just drill to different depths.
Giant Ichneumon WaspMegarhyssa atrata