Scoliid Wasps: Campsomeris ephippium

I emailed you once before about these humongous awesome wasps. They are still visiting us from time to time. They seem to like the passionflower vines and blossoms. I live northwest of San Antonio, Texas. If possible I’d like to have an ID on these. Thanks.
Linda Williams

Hi Linda,
We will need additional time to research the species, but we are relatively certain this is a Scoliid Digging Wasp in the Family Scoliidae. Texas is one of the states that often makes identification more difficult because of the proximity to Mexico. Often tropical species that are not found in U.S. Guidebooks can be found in more localized areas. We will confer with Eric Eaton to see if he recognized your gorgeous wasps. Eric Eaton responded: “You are correct on both counts. I don’t recognize the scoliids to species, and actually don’t know of any specialists on that family, either. We’d love to have both the images in Bugguide, too, as we are low on Urocerus images, and I don’t think that particular scoliid is as yet represented there. Eric”

Update January 20, 2016:  Campsomeris ephippium
Thanks to a comment that just arrived, we went back to this 2006 posting and then turned to BugGuide to attempt an ID.  Seems the species Campsomeris ephippium is now represented on BugGuide, but the oldest posting there is 2008, two years after we first posted this image.  We are happy we finally have an ID on this gorgeous Flower Wasp or Mammoth Wasp or Scarab Hunter Wasp, all common names for the family members.  This species has only been reported from the southern portions of Texas and Arizona.

9 thoughts on “Scoliid Wasps: Campsomeris ephippium”

  1. Hey I just saw a wasp the other day just like this. I travelled to Costa Rica and saw this same exact wasp…with two bright orange lines on Its back. I was in Monteverde in the rain forest. I have pics and video.

    • Thanks for providing a comment on this ten year old posting. Your comment has produced an identification for us. At the time we originally posted the image, there were no matching images on BugGuide, but now there are numerous images of Campsomeris ephippium posted to BugGuide, the oldest in 2008. According to ZipCode Zoo, the species is reported in “Antarctica, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama,” though we question the Antarctica report. U.S. sightings are limited to south Arizona and south Texas.

  2. I just saw a gorgeous one flying around in my garden, in Querétaro, México. It’s truly enormous! We have pictures, but taken from a safe distance :), so little use for more than ID purposes. Two clear and bright stripes in its pitch black abdomen.

  3. I found one of these alive, on my floor. I looked it up and it’s range is no where near me. I live in central Mexico, up in the mountains. I took a video of it, it’s a pretty little critter. I was wondering how aggressive they are.

  4. I left a picture on FB of this wasp to see if anyone knew what it was. A friend of mine left a link to those page. I live in Southern AZ in Hereford and this is the first year I have noticed them. There are many of them in my yard and on my lawn. The really big one was bigger then my pinky finger, and I have big fingers. LOL They really are pretty, are they about the same as a regular wasp as far as danger. They didn’t seam to care I was there. I wish there was a way to leave a picture. Thanks for the info. Koleen

    • You may send images by using the Ask What’s That Bug? link on our site. Scarab Hunter Wasps are not aggressive. Most wasp stings occur because social species are defending the nest, or through careless handling. Scarab Hunters are solitary wasps and solitary wasps do not defend their nests.

  5. I have seen these big boys in San Miguel De Allende Mexico on numerous occasions. The two stripes can be yellow or orange, usually orange, and they eat little budding flowers on our trees like crazy. They also are often on the ground fussing about. They are pretty scary, and I imagine if you get stung it would ruin your day. they can be a little aggressive, but generally mind their own business.


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