Thread-Waisted Wasp

What’s this bug?
Location: Bermuda Dunes, CA.
May 6, 2012 11:58 pm
Hi,
I saw this guy in my back yard today. Black body and legs with a red abdomen. It looked like a very large ant but with wings. Almost an inch long. He was scurrying across the ground on this warm spring afternoon. He never flew. Just curious because we can’t seem to figure out exactly what he was. Thanks!
Signature: Jeff

Thread-Waisted Wasp

Hi Jeff,
This is a Thread -Waisted Wasp in the family Specidae.  We believe we may have correctly identified it as
Prionyx parkeri based on photos posted to BugGuide. On the genus page, BugGuide notes that the habitat is “Open areas from prairies and deserts to vacant lots and fields” and “Adults feed on flower nectar. Female wasps secure adult grasshoppers (Acrididae) as live, paralyzed food for their offspring. Prey is stored in a burrow, an egg laid upon it, and the burrow sealed.”  We suspect this is a female and she is searching for prey to provision a burrow for her offspring.

Thanks for the ID.  Now I know “he” was a “she!”  I hope she found what she was looking for.  We live in the desert of southern California near Palm Springs.  It is very warm and dry here now.  There are vacant fields and lots nearby, so she wasn’t too far from her habitat.
Jeff

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