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Genus Ammophila

Ammophila? - Ammophila pictipennis Thread-waisted wasp? - Ammophila Wasp - Ammophila with parasite - Ammophila Ammophila? - Ammophila Thread-waisted wasp - Ammophila juncea - female Small fuzzy wasp - Ammophila Unknown Wasp? - Ammophila
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
No Taxon (Apoid Wasps (Apoidea)- traditional Sphecidae)
Family Sphecidae (Thread-waisted Wasps)
Subfamily Ammophilinae
Genus Ammophila
Other Common Names
Thread-waisted wasps
Explanation of Names
Greek ammos 'sand' + philia 'love'
Numbers
61 spp. in our area(1), >200 worldwide(2)
Size
11-38 mm (most species 20-25 mm)
Identification
Medium-sized black wasps with a relatively long petiole ("thread-waisted"), and usually with orange on the abdomen.
Podalonia are similar, but typically have the bulbous part of the abdomen bent upward and lying above the distal end of the petiole; whereas in Ammophila the abdomen is typically straight or bent downward at the distal end of the petiole. For illustrations, see figures A and C here in Bohart & Menke(3); and the posts below:
Ammophila ... and Podalonia
Generally, males have weaker reddish markings than females, are more slender, and lack a tarsal rake on the front legs.
Identification to species difficult.
Range
Holarctic; widespread in NA
Habitat
Meadows with flowers, bare soil or leaf litter for nest cavities.
Season
Summer into early fall. In NC, Apr-Nov (depending on species), typically May-Oct(4); in MI, Jun-Oct, typically Jul-Aug(5)
Food
Adults visit flowers. Larva feed on caterpillars and sawflies provisioned by the adult female.
Life Cycle
Parasitoids on caterplillars and sawflies. A burrow is dug by the female and an egg is laid in the paralyzed host in the burrow. May be several generations per year.
Remarks
Behavior described in(6)
Print References
Melander, A. L.(1903), Synopsis of the North American Species of Ammophila. Psyche 10:156-164 (Full Text)
Menke, A. S. (1964) New species of North American Ammophila (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae). Acta Hymenopterologica 2:5-27.
Menke, A. S. (1966) New species of North American Ammophila, Part II (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae), Proc. of the Biol. Soc. of Wash. 79:25-40. (Full Text)
Menke, A. S. (1966) A Revision of the North American Ammophila (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae), Dissertation Abstracts 26(4), pp. 1-251.
Menke, A. S. (1967) New species of North American Ammophila, Part III. (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae). Los Angeles County Museum Contributions in Science 123:1-8
Menke, A. S. (2007) Ammophila nancy Menke, a new species in the pruinosa complex (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae: Ammophilinae), Zootaxa 1546: 31–38 (2007)
Internet References
Interesting article on the use of tools in Sphecinae (including Ammophila)
Works Cited
1.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
2.Catalog of Sphecidae sensu lato
3.Sphecid wasps of the world: a generic revision
Richard Mitchell Bohart, Arnold S. Menke. 1976. University of California Press.
4.Insects of North Carolina
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
5.Sphecid Wasps of Michigan
6.Wasp Farm
Howard Ensign Evans. 1963. Comstock Publishing.