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Tarantula Hawk - Pepsis menechma - female

Tarantula Hawk - Pepsis menechma - Female
Parkwood, Durham County, North Carolina, USA
July 24, 2007
Size: 22 mm
This large spider wasp was hunting on a lawn, and I happened to have a specimen jar and so captured it. I have pinned the specimen, which is drying, so hope to get a good ID on it based on better photos of that. Any ideas now would be great of course. Appears to be Pepsis menechma--the only member of that genus in my area.

Dorsal view of body illustrating character of Spider Wasps, family Pompilidae (1):
-slender with long and spiny legs, hind femora typically extending beyond tip of abdomen

Images of this individual: tag all
Tarantula Hawk - Pepsis menechma - female Tarantula Hawk-pinned - Pepsis menechma - female Tarantula Hawk-abdomen - Pepsis menechma - female Tarantula Hawk-left wing - Pepsis menechma - female Tarantula Hawk - Pepsis menechma - female Tarantula Hawk - Pepsis menechma - female

Moved from Spider Wasps. There is lots of blue on the abdomen, so I believe this is Pepsis menechma = Pepsis elegans. More images forthcoming to show anatomic details.

Please yes!
Looks like something interesting. Antennal segments look very short for Entypus, which was my first impression. The antennae remind me more of Calopompilus, but there is no Calopompilus with yellow flagella. Will you be able to get wings shots?

do I see blue iridescence on the leg? Might this be Pepsis menechma?

P. menechma???
Do you mean Pepsis elegans? That is what this specimen reminds me of. Perhaps the name has now changed?

P. elegans was synonymized under Pepsis menechma if you have the Vardy revision it's in Part 3, pg. 131. It's one hell of a synonymy, too.

P. cerberus, P. elegans' west
P. cerberus, P. elegans' western counterpart, was also synonymized under P. menechma, which looks completely different than the eastern form in these photos (orange wings and usually dark antennae).

More images linked
I added three detailed images of the pinned specimen. Let me know if more detailed ones are needed to demonstrate identification. Also, I'd like to add some images for guide pages on the family and this genus, so tell me if there is anything particularly useful. (I don't have access to any keys for the group.)

Perhaps Pepsis--more shots TBA
I thought it was a Pepsis at first, and we just have the one here. I did not see lots of blue, but maybe a little. I have, I hope, a pretty good spread specimen, and will have some shots of wings and any other details you need. (I hated to sacrifice the critter, actually, but this group is so difficult, I wanted to make some progress.)

More shots to be added.

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