The hymenopteran family Ichneumonidae comprises one of the largest single animal families. With around 2,300 British species, almost 10% of British insect species are ichneumonids. They can be found everywhere and studying them is very rewarding, but it is not without its difficulties. This book provides an extensively illustrated key for the identification of the 35 subfamilies of Ichneumonidae known to occur in Britain and Ireland (plus Brachycyrtinae, not yet found here). This is supported by chapters for each subfamily giving a comprehensive review of current knowledge on systematics, biology and host relations together with notes on useful recognition features and references to the most relevant species-level identification literature concerning the British Isles. Included in each British and Irish subfamily account is a folio of photographs covering all recognised tribes.
"For those unfamiliar with this fascinating group of insects, a book that merely allows the identification of the subfamilies within a single family might sound rather limited. Those ‘in the know’, however, will immediately appreciate that this volume has the potential to unlock a huge treasure chest of species that have the reputation for being ‘impossible’ to identify. [...] This is very much more than just an identification guide. The majority of the book comprises accounts for each of the 35 subfamilies recorded from the British Isles, plus one further subfamily that might reasonably be expected to occur here. [...] All in all – and perhaps the acid test of any such book – I am inspired to ‘give them a go’ next summer, no longer fearful ichneumonids can be done only by a handful of experts. They are still, of course, a difficult group to identify to species level, but this book will surely inspire many more naturalists to pay more attention to these insects. This can only be a good thing: as the authors point out, knowledge of the conservation status of ichneumonids is at a primitive level compared with other Hymenoptera. Given their high degree of specialisation, many species of ichneumon are likely to be genuinely scarce or rare and the first step towards increasing our understanding of their distribution."
– Adrian Knowles, British Wildlife 30(5), June 2019