|Giant Ichneumon, Megarhyssa atrata - Andy Schiller|
This was identified as a Giant Ichneumon, Megarhyssa atrata. The long ovipositor labels it as a female. The ovipositors of some species will drill as much as two inches into wood, searching out insect larvae. The wear and tear on the ovipositors must be tremendous and many have up to 10% of their ovipositor weight in metal in their cuticle to help them drill.
|Limonethe maurator - Swearingen|
|L. maurator - Tim Lethbridge|
The family name Ichneumonidae has an interesting history. According to Wikipedia, in medieval literature the "ichneumon" is the enemy of dragons, able to cover itself with mud, close its nostrils with its tail and attack and kill dragons. It was able to kill the crocodile and the asp in the same manner. Exactly what that has to do with laying parasitic eggs on beetle larvae or lepidoptera caterpillars escapes me, but it is an interesting story.