Explanation of Names
Greek ammos 'sand' + philia 'love'
11-38 mm (most species 20-25 mm)
Medium-sized black wasps with a relatively long petiole ("thread-waisted"), and usually with orange on the abdomen.
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:
Generally, males have weaker reddish markings than females, are more slender, and lack a tarsal rake on the front legs.
Identification to species difficult.
Holarctic; widespread in NA
Meadows with flowers, bare soil or leaf litter for nest cavities.
Summer into early fall. In NC, Apr-Nov (depending on species), typically May-Oct(4)
; in MI, Jun-Oct, typically Jul-Aug(5)
Adults visit flowers. Larva feed on caterpillars and sawflies provisioned by the adult female.
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.
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)