Wasp (Dusky-winged ichneumonid) Lissopimpla excelsa
Species: L. excelsa
Binomial name: Lissopimpla excelsa
Synonyms: Lissopimpla semipunctata, Lissopimpla octo-guttata
Common name: Dusky-winged ichneumonid. Orchid dupe wasp.
Lissopimpla excelsa is a distinctive wasp of the family Ichneumonidae and it is native to New Zealand and Australia. It is relatively common and is widespread in the North Island and the top of the South Island.
Lissopimpla excelsa is a medium sized wasp (>20 mm body) with a bright, orange body and dark wings. The abdomen has broad black band with four white spots on each side. The antennae are as long as or longer than body. The ovipositor is about body length.
Like all members of its family, L. excelsa larvae are parasitic. In New Zealand its moth hosts include: Orthoclydon praefactata, Pseudocoremia suavis, Wiseana cervinata, Wiseana umbraculata and the Mythimna separate. The female wasp searches with her antennae for a suitable host. The female has the long ovipositor which is used to insert eggs into the host’s caterpillars and pupas. The length of the ovipositor allows the female to inject her eggs into hidden hosts such as leaf-rolling or stem-boring caterpillars.
Because Cryptostylis orchids mimic the odour and appearance of female Lissopimpla wasps, the male wasps mistake the flowers for females and pollinate them by pseudocopulation. Hence its common name, the Orchid Dupe Wasp.
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