Currently viewing the category: "spider wasps"

Subject:  Not sure what kind of bug this is?
Geographic location of the bug:  Airway Heights,WA
Date: 09/27/2021
Time: 05:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi my co worker and I were wondering what kind of bug this is? We found it outside of our work which is in airway heights,off the geiger blvd exit.
How you want your letter signed:  Hillary&Celeste

Spider Wasp possibly Calopompilus pyrrhomelas

Dear Hillary & Celeste,
This is a Spider Wasp and it sure looks like a Tarantula Hawk, and when we began research, we discovered
Calopompilus pyrrhomelas on BugGuide and learned that it preys on a species of Trapdoor Spider.


Subject:  Identify this wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Greensboro,NC
Date: 08/27/2021
Time: 09:27 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was hiking a trail at battleground park with my fiance in Greensboro and we came across this wasp dragging a spider twice it size on the trailer were walking. Would you let us know what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Jrp

Spider Wasp with Wolf Spider Prey

Dear Jrp,
This is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, and though your image lacks the necessary detail for a definite identification, we believe your individual is
Tachypompilus ferrugineus.  This species preys upon Wolf Spiders, not to eat, but to feed to her brood.

Subject:  This lives my desert milkweed
Geographic location of the bug:  Phoenix AZ urban environment
Date: 08/14/2021
Time: 10:42 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you tell us what this beautiful insect is. It has beautiful iridescence on its thorax and abdomen that do not show as clearly in the photo. It is approximately 2.5 inches long with long graceful legs and long wings.
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you! Deborah

Tarantula Hawk

Dear Deborah,
First we want to compliment you on your wonderful image that is so rich in anatomical details, including the two spines visible on the hind leg joint.  This is a Tarantula Hawk and many Tarantula Hawks have bright orange wings and iridescent bodies, aposomatic or warning colors that this wasp can sting and the sting is reported to be quite painful.  At first we suspected it was a Mexican Tarantula Hawk because of the black wings, but the large size you indicate has us thinking this is the melanic form of
Pepsis grossa based on this BugGuide information:  “Very large, with two color forms: Orange-winged (xanthic) and black-winged (melanic). The two color forms are not often seen in the same locality. Melanic forms are easily confused with Pepsis mexicana, but that species is always much smaller in size than P. grossa.”  When Tarantula Hawks fly, their long legs dangle behind them.  Though they are not aggressive, the sting is reported to be extremely painful.  True to their name, female Tarantula Hawks prey upon Tarantulas which they paralyze with their sting.  The living but helpless Tarantula is then buried and the Tarantula Hawk lays an egg.  When the egg hatches, the larva will eat the Tarantula alive.  This is important because if the Tarantula was dead, it would dry up and be useless as food for the larval wasp.  Tarantula Hawks are very fond of milkweed.  Thanks again for your wonderful submission.

Subject:  Tarantula hawk?
Geographic location of the bug:  Highlands of Chiriqui, Rep of Panamá
Date: 07/07/2020
Time: 04:21 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We saw this approx 2 inch wasp? scuttling across a spare lot on our community today. We do see tarantulas reasonably often and wondered if it was a female hunting for a host. Is there any way to differentiate between a male or female? Never seen another one in our 8 years in Panamá, the colours looked beautiful in the sunshine. Thanks, Carol
How you want your letter signed:  Carol

Spider Wasp

Hi Carol,
We are very confident this is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, but we cannot state for certain that it is a Tarantula Hawk.  Your individual resembles this image posted to FlickR.  The hunting behavior you witnessed indicates this is likely a female.  Males do not hunt for spiders, and they can generally be found nectaring.

Spider Wasp

Subject:  Spider wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Wilderness, South Africa
Date: 03/08/2020
Time: 02:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Thank you for posts that helped us to identify this wasp in our garden today. It was carrying a spider and defended its catch aggressively
How you want your letter signed:  Debbie

Spider Wasp

Dear Debbie,
This is indeed a beautiful Spider Wasp, but alas, we don’t see the Spider.  It looks very similar to this beauty in our archives.

Subject:  Is this a spider wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Conyers GA
Date: 09/24/2019
Time: 04:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just wondering what type of bug this is. It was dragging a very large spider as it went along.
How you want your letter signed:  Belinda

Spider Wasp and prey

Hi Belinda,
This is definitely a Spider Wasp.  Based on this BugGuide image, it appears to be
Entypus unifasciatus. The prey appears to be a Fishing Spider in the genus Dolomedes, and according to BugGuide:  “Females dig a burrow that ends in a terminal chamber off of the side of a mammal burrow or large crack in the ground. The serrations on the hind tibiae are used to aid the movement of soil out of the burrow entrance. The position in which the egg is laid is unknown. Larvae feed on one large spider and, as in all Pompilids that have one generation per year, overwinter as pupae.”  Most images of this Spider Wasp are with prey that are Wolf Spiders like this BugGuide image, but Fishing Spiders surely constitute “one large spider.”  Perhaps an expert in Spider Wasps will be able to provide comments regarding the prey.