1. [syn: ichneumon, Herpestes ichneumon]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Ichneumon \Ich*neu"mon\, n. [L., fr. Gr. ?, lit., the tracker;
so called because it hunts out the eggs of the crocodile, fr.
? to track or hunt after, fr. 'i`chnos track, footstep.]
1. (Zool.) Any carnivorous mammal of the genus Herpestes,
and family Viverrid[ae]. Numerous species are found in
Asia and Africa. The Egyptian species (Herpestes
ichneumon), which ranges to Spain and Palestine, is noted
for destroying the eggs and young of the crocodile as well
as various snakes and lizards, and hence was considered
sacred by the ancient Egyptians. The common species of
India (Herpestes griseus), known as the mongoose, has
similar habits and is often domesticated. It is noted for
killing the cobra.
2. (Zool.) Any hymenopterous insect of the family
Ichneumonid[ae], of which several thousand species are
known, belonging to numerous genera.
Note: The female deposits her eggs upon, or in, the bodies of
other insects, such as caterpillars, plant lice, etc.
The larva lives upon the internal tissues of the insect
in which it is parasitic, and finally kills it. Hence,
many of the species are beneficial to agriculture by
destroying noxious insects.
Ichneumon fly. See Ichneumon, 2.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: northern African mongoose; in ancient times thought to
devour crocodile eggs [syn: ichneumon, Herpestes