Yellow Ophion Ophion luteus

Yellow Ophion Ophion luteus

This extraordinary creature is an ichneumon wasp. I found two of them in my moth trap the other morning. They are nocturnal wasps, and are readily attracted to light. This is a fairly large wasp at 20mm (3/4 inch), long, with a red or orange body, antennae and legs. It has a strongly arched abdomen, which makes it look quite a fearsome wasp even to me, and I was quite wary of it, even though I knew it did not contain a sting. The females have a long ovipositor for laying eggs, and she could jab you a little with it if you were brave enough to handle one, but generally they will not harm you, say, compared to a hornet or a common wasp which will sting you, of course. It can easily be confused with other similar species so care has to be taken in identification.

Yellow Ophion Ophion luteus

The adults fly August to September, and can be found almost anywhere, including woodland, farmland, parks and gardens. The larvae are parasites of Heart & Dart moth caterpillars (Agrotis exclamationis). Common and widespread throughout.

Yellow Ophion Ophion luteus


Thanks to Craig Slawson and Gavin Broad of the Staffordshire Ecological Record for confirming identification.


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. August 2017.

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36 thoughts on “Yellow Ophion Ophion luteus

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    1. Thank you, David πŸ™‚ The Raynox was not at hand at the time, so I just used the Sigma 105mm for these with a little cropping. I used the speedlight flash and narrowed the aperture to f22 which is my preference for most of my shots now as it gives more detail. But I could not do this without the aid of the flash unit.

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  1. Superb macro Pete, and a serious looking wasp to be sure. I was just checking on this post to see if you had mentioned what lens you were using. I’m having sudden thoughts of buying a decent macro lens for my Canon camera, which I haven’t used much. Looked at a Tamron and rather gulped at the price – but it would be something I’d get lots of use out of. I’m thinking you use a Tamron lens?

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    1. Thank you, Jude πŸ™‚ I use a Sigma 105mm macro lens which have very good reviews and is in the lower price bracket. It took me a long time before I decided to get a macro lens, but once I did I haven’t stopped using it since! Tamron lenses are supposed to be good also. Check the reviews on them and the compatability for your Canon. I you afre really interested in getting close to your subjects a macro lens is definately the way to go.

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      1. I believe you, having seen your macro work. It’s rather what has set me off thinking about it. The macro option on my Linux is good but I’d like better. Macro has become a focal point of photography for me. I’ll be back in England in October and I may see if I can buy 2nd hand. Research first! Thanks Pete 😊

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      2. Yes, research is key, seeing how different ones compare and what is suitable for you πŸ™‚ You might also consider a Raynox DCR-250 conversion lens which fits to the end of your existing lens. It is a cheaper option, but for me I use this on the end of my macro lens to get even closer to very small things. Something else to consider and research, perhaps? πŸ™‚

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      3. Thanks Pete, I’ve been thinking of little else these last few days! I’ve dragged out my Canon EOS 500D and played around with it, haven’t used it for ages as I prefer my Lumix bridge camera with the macro option. However, I’m seriously thinking of a proper macro lens, Sigma or Tamron, for the Canon. May have a look at them when I come over to the UK in October! I do have a set of those conversion lenses, never used, so I’ll try them out! πŸ›πŸœπŸπŸžπŸ•·πŸ˜

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      4. πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoy the conversion lenses. They do not work for everybody from what I have gleamed here. I found a narrow aperture works with mine the best, between 16 and 22 generally, but needs good light for good exposure because of the reduced aperture. Have fun πŸ™‚

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