. /../(Formerly) unknown insect/ 1
lost, not forgotten
written by Alex on Dec 27, 2009 13:51


I found this insect in my sister's room. I think I saw one of these before, it more or less appears to be a large kind of fly, about 1 inch long. They're not fragile when you try to kill one. They don't behave aggressively, and I'm thinking it's unlikely that they should sting or bite. But out of curiosity, any idea what these are?

[edit]

Serpens found this pic: http://www.naturephoto-cz.com/photos/krasensky/ophion-sp.-0106.jpg
it looks similar...

[update]

"Ophion sp." seems to be their generic name. Some of them sting, but only in defense. Gonna release it outside.

[later update]

Retitled thread.
The insect was released, looked a bit confused, but alive.
└> last changed by Alex on December 27, 2009 at 14:55
krasnyj bibliotekar
written by Serpens on Dec 27, 2009 15:06
Here is a letter about this (or similar) insect, from Nature, Volume 108, 10 November 1921:

Ophion luteus.

This fly, one of the larger Ichneumonidae, appears
in my house every year in late summer. Several
members of my family have complained of being
stung by it, always at night, usually after they had
gone to bed in the top store, third above the basement.
All doubt about the aggressor was dispelled
by a young lady who, when reading in bed, felt a stab
on the arm and saw the insect flagrante delicto. I am
informed on high authority that, while Ophion is
one of the few Ichneumonidae which are known to
sting, and while a small, narrow poison sac has been
detected in a few species of that immense family, none
has been recorded in Ophion Iuteus. But whereas
the sting is followed in every instance by considerable
inflammation and pain, such as would not be the
effect of the mere stab of a needle, it seems almost
certain that some irritant is injected into the wound,
possibly for the purpose of paralysing the fly's legitimate
victim, as in the case of the hunting-wasps.

It puzzles one to divine the purpose of Ophion in
attacking sleeping human beings. The weapon employed
is the sharp point of the ovipositor. It seems
scarcely possible that the intention is that the progeny
should be lodged and fed in the body of man, woman,
or child. What is normally the creature which
Ophion seeks as a harbour for its eggs and larvae? Is
this known? Only once have I seen Ophion in my
own bedroom on the first floor. I was reading in
bed one night in August last when the fly alighted
on the sheet. I regret that instinct prevailed over
reason, and I destroyed the creature before the purpose
of its visit was revealed.

Herbert Maxwell.

Monreith, Whauphill, Wigtownshire, N.B.

The author seems to be British. Maybe these insects just hate the British and like the Italian.
a title is a curious thing...
written by Granpire viking man on Dec 28, 2009 00:21
One great book for identifying insect and bugs etc. is The DK Handbook: Insects, Spiders, and Other Terrestrial Arthropods.

It has an identification key in the beginning for narrowing down species, and information about their habitats and areas in the world that they live. I've identified quite a few different types with it.
lost, not forgotten
written by Alex on Dec 28, 2009 00:31
Thanks for the hint, GVM.

About that letter, well, I give what I take: that insect didn't sting my sister, nor it did with me while approaching to capture it... so I let it go in good health. On the other hand (and sometimes literally on a hand), tiger mosquitoes love to bite and I have a midly allergic reaction to their bites, so I *destroy* them without compliments.
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