Tiny red bug-eyed wasp

2015 March 4

At first, I thought that this was another midge at the porch light on June 29, 2014, but on closer examination it looks like one of the smaller parasitic wasps (it was only about 3-4 mm long).

From what I can see of the wing veins, I think it is a Braconid wasp, not an ichneumon. And, from the substantial, spear-like ovipositor, I think it is pretty safe to say it is a female:

Ah, but which braconid? There’s a poser for you. There are a mere 1700 known species to choose from in North America, most of which are small and reddish-brown.

So, I posted it on BugGuide, where Ross Hill tells me it is most likely one of the 40 or so species in the genus Meteorus.

Well, 40 is certainly better than 1700 as far as narrowing things down. Anyway, poking around for information about the Meteorus genus, I find a lot of references to Meteorus pulchricornis. This is evidently a species that has gotten imported around the world, and is not very fussy about its hosts, attacking a lot of different kinds of caterpillars. And looking at the pictures, it is quite possible that my specimen is, in fact, this species.

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