New garden species

Gelis bicolor ♀︎

Last update: 10 March 2021
SAMPLE:
2021-II-202021-II-152021-II-102021-II-09

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.

Gelis bicolor ♀︎
Gelis bicolor ♀︎

After some digging on the web it turns out that the number of wingless (apterous) ichneumon wasp genera are limited to [1]:

  • Gelis
  • Polyaulon
  • Thaumatogelis

After identification using the Gelis key I think it is a specimen Gelis bicolor [2]. 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.

Gelis bicolor ♀︎, drinking sugar water

UPDATE: 2021/02/20

Looking at the nice weather and higher temperatures I decided to release the wasp and set her free on young Stinging nettles.

Gelis bicolor ♀︎
Gelis bicolor ♀︎

References

1 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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