Length 20 mm. It is a nocturnal wasp which is readily attracted to light. A fairly large wasp with a red or orange body, antennae and legs. It has a strongly arched abdomen, which makes it look quite a fearsome wasp. 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.
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.
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps & Sawflies)
Family Ichneumonidae (Ichneumon Wasps)
Species Ophion luteus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Photos: Attracted to moth trap light, back garden, South Staffordshire August 2017. © Peter Hillman