On one of the roof beams inside my study a little ‘ant’ of ±34-4 mm was crawling about, which promptly dropped down. As I picked it up and took a closer look I noticed an ovipositor sticking out… so not ant but a femal wasp, but also no wings… interesting!
Immediately started a photosession to shine a light on this new visitor.
After some digging on the web it turns out that the number of wingless (apterous) ichneumon wasp genera are limited to :
After identification using the Gelis key I think it is a specimen Gelis bicolor . As this is the first time that I’ve observed the genus I felt like validating this with the experts on the Waarneming.nl forum, which eventually lead to a mail to the author of the key, expert Dr. Martin Schwarz. His verdict: Gelis bicolor.
See here for the identification of the specimen.
The females of the species overwinter so she should be outside. However currently it is freezing and there is a thick cover of snow, not ideal to be evicted. So I’ve decided to make it into a breeding challenge to see if she can be kept alive until warmer weather returns, which should be within a week or so.
She is now housed in a little jar and is fed sugar water on daily, which she eagerly consumes. Up to now things are looking good.
Looking at the nice weather and higher temperatures I decided to release the wasp and set her free on young Stinging nettles.
References1 SCHWARZ, Martin. Revision der westpaläarktischen Arten der Gattungen Gelis Thunberg mit apteren Weibchen und Thaumatogelis Schmiedeknecht (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae). Teil 1. na, 1995.
2 Nederlands Soortenregister
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