Science Art: Ichneumon Fly, from the USDA’s Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, 1941

Ichneumon Fly, a scientific illustration

Ichneumon Fly, a scientific illustrationClick to embiggen

“Lays eggs on larva boring in wood.” Add just one comma and that comes across as harsh criticism, but it’s really meant as a compliment.

This is from an illustrated fact-sheet of Beneficial Insects that I found in the Biodiversity Heritage Library. It’s a poster from the WWII era that might as well be labeled “THESE ARE YOUR FRIENDS. DO NOT ATTACK THESE INSECTS.”

As propaganda, I suppose it’s still pretty effective. At least I found them all rather handsome – but none were as arresting as this ichneumon fly. Practically art nouveau, this lethal little pest-killing guy.