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Shiny purple wasp with wolf spider for thanksgiving feast!!!
December 13, 2009
My family went camping over Thanksgiving this year and while we were sitting around the campfire I saw this wasp. It was searching for the wolf spider that it had paralyzed. When it finally found the spider it tried to drag it up the side of the fire ring. The spider was too heavy, and the wasp kept slipping back down. I got the wasp to drag its prey on to a stick and then took them both out of our campsite. The wasp was about an inch long, with shiny black wings and a metallic purple-blue body. The spider was also about an inch long, had two dark brown spots on its head and three on its abdomen, and brown spots on the underside of its abdomen. Do you know what species these are? Thanks,
Josh Kouri

Blue Black Spider Wasp and Prey

Blue Black Spider Wasp and Prey

Hi Josh,
You normally write from Oklahoma, but you didn’t indicate if your camping trip was elsewhere.  We believe this is a Blue Black Spider Wasp, Anoplius depressipes, which, according to BugGuide, has been reported from nearby Arkansas.

Blue Black Spider Wasp and Prey

We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he can confirm this identification.

We were camping at Robber’s Cave State Park, which is in southeast Oklahoma.

Blue Black Spider Wasp and Prey

Update from Eric Eaton
Hi, Daniel:
Great images indeed!  I agree that this is a spider wasp in the genus Anoplius, but not Anoplius depressipes, which preys mostly on fishing spiders.  The prey here is a wolf spider of some kind, family Lycosidae.

Comment July 22, 2014
Subject: Blue Black Spider Wasp
July 22, 2014 6:47 pm
This site is a WONDERFUL resource!
I was working outside in my yard in Lacey, WA, when I saw what appeared to be a spider trying to catch a shiny blue-black flying insect in its web.  As I watched with fascination, I wondered why this bug wasn’t getting caught on the web no matter how frenzied the movements of the spider.  Then it became obvious the spider was either killed or paralyzed and the bug swiftly removed the spider’s body from it’s legs and took the body down into a crack in the rocks.  I didn’t have time to get my camera.  Drat!
I ran in the house to find out what this insect is.  What’sthatbug.com had great photos of my killer insect via a post titled: Blue Black Spider Wasp with prey, December 16, 2009 · By Josh Kouri
Thank you,
Lisa Wilson
Signature: Lisa

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5 Responses to Blue Black Spider Wasp with prey

  1. Found something similar in Minnesota, here’s the link: http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/163306012 I’ve also come across something similar near Lake Emma (MN) however, the wasps look slightly different and were preying on the fishing spiders found there. Your update helped me understand the difference. Thank you!

  2. brenda says:

    I am in Essex, MD. I have seen 2 of these this week, but didn’t know what they were. They sure are diligent, tracked one dragging it’s prey (wolf spider) for over 40 feet then lost it. Thank you for this info. Couldn’t get a picture.

  3. Dwain Moody says:

    Sitting on my back porch, I see these often hunting around. Have witnessed them dragging spiders across the porch before and taking them into a dark crack to never been seen again.

    The other day I noticed one was flying around then landing and walking back and forth. I went over to watch what is was doing. It found a very small house spider web in a corner of the back porch.
    It slowly walked up to the web, as if checking for the web itself, placed it’s front legs on the web and began to vibrate the web with it’s legs. The spider came running out to catch it’s prey and the Spider Wasp attacked, paralized the spider then flew off with it.
    One of the most amazing things I have seen in real life. Was almost like watching something off BBC’s Nature.

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