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Genus Anoplius - Blue-Black Spider Wasps

pompilid - Anoplius Pompilid - Anoplius depressipes Pompilid - Anoplius depressipes pompilid - Anoplius Wasp ID Request - Anoplius  Blue-Black Spider Wasp - Anoplius americanus AAA Wasp for California in August  (Anopilius americanus ambiguus) - Anoplius americanus - female Wasp - Anoplius
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)
Superfamily Pompiloidea (Spider Wasps, Velvet Ants and allies)
Family Pompilidae (Spider Wasps)
Subfamily Pompilinae
Tribe Pompilini
Genus Anoplius (Blue-Black Spider Wasps)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Anoplius was described by Dufour in 1834
For many years the genus Psammochares was used.
Numbers
Nearctica.com lists something like 48 species for North America, making it the largest genus of spider wasp in the U.S.
There are six recognized subgenera (Lophopompilus, Notiochares, Anopliodes, Arachnophroctonus, Pompilinus, and Anoplius).
Size
12-20 mm, a few nearctic over 30 mm.
Identification
Medium-sized black wasps, often with orange abdominal markings. Females typically hunt intently on forest floor, etc., flicking wings.
All pompilines have a pocket in the lower rear corner of the third discal cell (the Peterson Guide should have a wing venation diagram). Female Anoplius all have noticeable stiff bristles on the last tergite (pygidium). Identification of males is often difficult.
Range
Much of North America. Diverse in western US, but also found in eastern states.
Habitat
Varied. Eastern species can be found in deciduous forests.
Season
Late spring to early autumn. Some species have several generations per year starting from late May. Females of A. tenebrosus overwinter and can be found as early as April in the southern part of its range.
Food
Adults take nectar
Life Cycle
Larvae are provisioned with wolf spiders, funnel web spiders. Many are generalists and will provision with nearly every common family of spider found in North America. A. marginatus has been recorded taking Daddy Long-legs (Opiliones). Most are fossorial ground nesters, although some will use borings in wood and other crevices.
Remarks
Probably the model for some Mydas flies.
See Also
Arachnospila (formerly Pompilus); this genus is very similar. Good views of the pygidium help but it is much safer to identify them on the basis of characters seen through a microscope.
Print References
Milne, plate 460, p. 839 (1)
Borror and White, p. 347 (ill.), plate 16--A. marginalis (2)
Brimley, p. 434, lists 4 spp. for North Carolina, as subgenus of Psammochares (3)
Evans, H.E. 1951. A taxonomic study of the nearctic spider wasps belonging to the tribe pompilini, Part II. Trans. Amer. Entomol. Soc., 76: 207-361. (descriptions, keys)
Internet References
North Carolina State University Entomology--page on genus, lists several species for that state.
Works Cited
1.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.
2.A Field Guide to Insects
Richard E. White, Donald J. Borror, Roger Tory Peterson. 1998. Houghton Mifflin Co.
3.Insects of North Carolina
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.