Ichneumon wasps, like most other wasps belonging to ‘Parasitica’, are parasitoids. Most attack the larvae of Lepidoptera and sawflies (Symphyta: Hymenoptera), including many economic pests within these groups. However a wide range of other insects and non-insect arthropods are also parasitised. Their life-strategies are diverse. The more primitive ichneumons will seek out large hosts such as late instar caterpillars and then permanently paralyse, or kill, them. Their larvae will then develop quickly as they devour the host. Some will attack immotile hosts such as pupae or egg-sacs. A more sophisticated life history is taken by ichneumons who oviposit on, or into, a host early in the host’s development. The parasitic larva then delays it’s own development while the host is allowed to continue to feed and grow. Eventually the parasite will devour and kill the host, usually when the host prepares to pupate. Some ichneumons are secondary parasites, also called ‘hyperparasites’, and thus attack parasitic larvae already established including those of Braconidae, Tachinidae, and other Ichneumonidae.
Tasmania has a rich ichneumon fauna with over ninety described species. The bulk of these occur among subfamilies Campopleginae, Pimplinae, Labeninae, Cryptinae, and Ophioninae. Brief Tasmanian specific descriptions are given for the females of some subfamilies, however they are not to be considered diagnostic.
Gauld, I. D. 1976. A revision of the Anomaloninae (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) of Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 24: 597-634.
Gauld, I. D. 1976. The taxonomy of the genus Heteropelma Wesmael (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Entomology 34: 153-219.
Gauld, I. D. & Holloway G. A. 1986. Australian ichneumonids of the tribes Labenini and Poecilocryptini. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Entomology 53: 107-149.
Short, M. W., Schmidt, S., & Steinbauer, M. J. 2006. A key to some Australian genera of large nocturnal Ichneumonidae (Hymenoptera), including flight periodicities and influence of moon phase on light trap catches. Australian Entomologist 33: 49-55.
Turner, R. E. 1919. Notes on the Ichneumonidae in the British Museum. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 9: 550-58.