If you've been following my wasp posts you'll know by now that there has been a variety of opinion on exactly what kind of wasp it was that showed up here in the High Arctic. The initial identification, by the Nunavut Research Centre, was that it was a Yellow Jacket (Vespula intermedia), but that has pretty much been shot down and we've moved on to other families. Other people have weighed in and the thoughts on what it was, have bounced from the intial Vespids to a Sphecid, to one of the Ichneumonids, and around again the similar paths.
Part of the problem of course, is trying to identify the wasp from a couple of photographs. As good as they are, the photographs do not convey the same information as having the actual specimen in hand. Structures and features are hidden, the wasp's narrow "waist" for instance isn't visible in the picture on my second post, muddying the waters.
One of the people who had tried to id the wasp, is an forensic entomologist, a fascinating field. He was kind enough to forward the photo's off to a couple of specialists with Agriculture Canada, who have access to the national collection. They apparently advised that there is no doubt that the wasp is an ichneumonid wasp, but without the specimen they can go no further than that. Too bad, as I'd really be interested in finding out more about this wayward wasp. Where it would normally be found, its habits, its host caterpillar etc. And just how it might have come to have arrived here in Arctic Bay.
I'm not sure if we've heard the last on this
Vespid Sphecid Ichneumonid Sphecid Vespid Sphecid Ichneumonid wasp. Feel free to jump in.