Ichneumon sarcitorius Linnaeus 1758. Family Ichneumonidae. Found at Shavers End Quarry, Abberley, Worcestershire
On a visit to Shavers End quarry (Abberley Hills) on 19th March 2012 I was trying to photograph small solitary bees on a dry bank (unsuccessfully) when a large colourful Ichneumonid landed nearby. I grabbed a quick photograph before it flew off having no idea what species it might be.
Normally ichneumons are difficult to identify and beyond my skills and my reference works but this was quite large species (14mm) and very distinctive with the orange and black banding so I searched around for an identification on the web. A German site HymIS, Hymenoptera Information System, proved very useful and after some consideration I tentatively named it as Ichneumon sarcitorius.
I emailed the image and my tentative naming to Dr Gavin Broad of the Natural History Museum who kindly replied to confirm my identification. He added the following: 'Ichneumon sarcitorius. This is a common and fortunately distinctive species. There is no other species that has that combination of red, black, red black then a white stripe towards the tip of the metasoma. The females overwinter as adults so can be out early in the year when it is a very polyphagous parasitoid of noctuid pupae'.
In Worcestershire it appears to be under recorded with three records, one from the Teme area near Rochford and two from near Pershore.
My thanks to Gavin Broad for his help.
Fig.1. Ichneumon sarcitorius at Shavers End. John Bingham