Sphex nudus?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
August 20, 2011 6:02 pm
I think, thanks to a hint that Eric Eaton posted on bugguide.net, that I have this properly identified as a Sphex nudus (Katydid wasp). Can you please confirm?
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Spider Wasp

Hi Anna,
Goodness, you have sent us a few tough identifications, and though we spent some time trying to research identities, we didn’t have much luck.  We are not sure which comment attributed to Eric Eaton has caused you to believe this is a Katydid Wasp, but we are not certain the Katydid Wasp is found in California based on the BugGuide distribution map.  There are similarities between your individual and the Katydid Wasp, and it is possible it is a similar looking relative that is not represented on BugGuide.  We wish you had a photo that showed the face better.  We believe this is most likely one of the Spider Wasps in the family Pompilidae, however, we were unable to find a match on BugGuide.  These are the family characteristics that have influenced our opinion:  “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).”  We will contact Eric Eaton to try to get his opinion.

Spider Wasp

Eric Eaton provides Spider Wasp identity
Your first instincts are correct.  This is a spider wasp, Episyron coterminus posterus:
Nice images, too.

Hi Daniel,
I’m sorry to have sent you tough identifications.  You know, as I continued looking at distribution maps and the faces of the Katydid Wasps, I started to doubt my identifications.  I figured I’d just wait to hear from you.  Thanks very much.  If you have a chance, will you please also thank Eric Eaton for me?
As I read more on this wasp, I’m surprised at how long it held still for me – almost 5 minutes.  I really do have to think about getting a little better camera.

Location: California

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