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I've never seen anything like it, although I suppose it could be a wasp or an ant with wasp-like colour bands. Found in our garden today (Cambridge, UK). It's about 1.5 cm (half an inch) long.

Unusual wasp-like insect

Thanks!

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It looks like the parasitic wasp, Ichneumon stramentor, as found by my amazing girlfriend, and discussed on Nature Spot (UK). And it's a female to be even more precise:

Ichneumon Stramentor

Description: Length 13 to18 mm. Female - Long tapered abdomen, first half yellow and rear half black, with yellow spot at the tip (both on the top and beneath. Legs have black femora; tibiae are half yellow blending into brown that exceeds to the tarsi. Black thorax (with yellow spot) and black head. Long dark antennae with broad white patch about half way along its length. Wings have a brownish tinge. Male has all dark antennae, no yellow spot to the tip of the abdomen. (emphasis mine)

It can be seen from April to July, commonly in meadows, hedgerows and woodland edge.

The adult wasp lays its eggs inside caterpillars which, after hatching, eats the caterpillar from the inside. Hence the "parasitic" descriptor.

Further reading at Paul's Back Garden Safari
Wiki article on Ichneumonoidea

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    $\begingroup$ We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed. Besides it is good to avoid writing personal information in your posts in both question and answer on the main site. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Apr 1 '17 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ @qris: Sanjukta is right: please add some info from one or more (reputable) source(s) providing a bit more support for your answer. We like to differentiate ourselves from most sources of species ID by providing detailed and referenced answers.... Other than that, awesome find by your girlfriend -- wasps are not easy to ID!! :D. $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Apr 1 '17 at 19:47
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    $\begingroup$ Qris, I took the liberty to edit your post to bring it within site guidelines. If the edit is unacceptable in any way, please feel free to roll back. Good find! $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Apr 2 '17 at 5:25

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