Strange fly with Curly Q Antenna
November 18, 2009
This bug was witnessed in our office this afternoon walking across a desk. Another person in the office said that they saw it earlier and it flew away. I was fascinated by the antenna, which I hope you can see in the picture, as the ends of them do almost a 360 degree loop, like a curly q. If you could give us any help identifying it, that would be great!
South Florida, right on the ocean, about 50 yards from the beach.
This is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae though we don’t even want to attempt to try to identify the species. Spider Wasps, as their name implies, prey upon spiders. Adult wasps feed on pollen and nectar, but the helpless young are carnivorous. The female Spider Wasp captures spiders and paralyzes them with her sting. She then lays an egg on the spider and the young wasp has fresh paralyzed living meat rather than a dead dried out spider to feed upon. According to BugGuide, the following are family characteristics of Spider Wasps:
“Typically dark colored with smoky or yellowish wings; a few are brightly colored.
Slender with long and spiny legs, hind femora typically extending beyond tip of abdomen.
Tibiae of rear legs have two prominent spines at apex (distal end, next to tarsi)
Wings not folded flat on top of abdomen.
Mesopleuron with a transverse suture (see this image).
Like the Vespidae, the Pompilidae have the pronotum extending back to the tegulae, the pronotum thus appearing triangular when viewed from the side and horseshoe-shaped when viewed from above.” In your photo, the spines on the rear legs are visible.