What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

wasp and paralyzed spider
Location: Hyannis Massachusetts
February 4, 2011 10:09 pm
Hi guys, I saw these two locked in combat one summer day in Hyannis, Massachusetts and ran for my camera. By the time I got back it was all over and the wasp had won. In this picture she is dragging the spider to the hole she dug after paralyzing it. I’d like to know the official ID of each of them, especially the spider.
Signature: any

Blue Black Spider Wasp and Orbweaver

Hi any,
We believe your wasp is a Blue Black Spider Wasp in the genus
Anoplius based on information on BugGuide which indicates:  “Larvae are provisioned with wolf spiders, funnel web spiders. Many are generalists and will provision with nearly every common family of spider found in North America.”  That information is interesting, because Orbweavers are atypical prey.  We believe the spider is a Giant Lichen Orbweaver, Araneus bicentenarius, based upon photos on BugGuide.

Correction:  September 2, 2013
Thanks to a comment from Nick identifying this as
Episyron biguttatus, we can provide a link to the species page on BugGuide which has photos, and the genus page on BugGuide which has information including:  “Adults capture orb weavers (Araneidae) (1) to provision their nests. Adults also frequent flowers, especially males” and “Females are fossorial and as stated above provision only with Araneid spiders. They have several generations per year.”

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Massachusetts

3 Responses to Spider Wasp Paralyzes Orbweaver

  1. Nick Fensler says:

    Not sure this is Anoplius, either. This is most likely Episyron biguttatus; the white metasomal spots can be difficult to see, especially when its wings are folded down. Because the behavior needed to flush an orb-weaver from its web is actually quite specialized it would be unlikely that Anoplius would use orb-weavers as prey. Episyron, Poecilopompilus, and some Agenioideus actually have to enter the web of an orb-weaver and “flush” it (as you probably know, orb-weavers have a tendency to drop to the ground when disturbed) then follow it to the ground to paralyze it. Anoplius exhibits a generalized type of searching behavior and would more likely prey upon spiders that dwell close to the ground.

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