Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
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Family Sphecidae - Thread-waisted Wasps

 Wasp ID? - Prionyx Big black wasp - Chlorion aerarium Ammophila? - Eremnophila aureonotata Ichneumon wasp - Ammophila - male small ichneumon - Ammophila ferruginosa - female Wasp - Sphex nudus Isodontia elegans? - Prionyx California Prionyx - Prionyx - male
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 (Apoidea sans Anthophila – Apoid Wasps)
Family Sphecidae (Thread-waisted Wasps)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
classification here follows(1)
127 spp. in 11 genera in our area(2), almost 800 spp. in 18 genera worldwide(3) • 21 spp. in Canada(4) • 44 in e. US(5) • MI list(6)FL list
Overview of our fauna:
Family Sphecidae
Subfamily Sceliphrinae
Subfamily Sphecinae
Body 10‒30 mm
Abdomen long and stalked (petiolate), giving the body a "thread-waisted" appearance; middle tibiae with two apical spurs; body may be all black (sometimes tinged with metallic blue or green), black and red, yellow and black, or white and black. Males have no tarsal rake, 11 flagellomeres, and 7 gastral segments. Females have a tarsal rake, 10 flagellomeres, and 6 gastral segments.
Chalybion (Sceliphrinae) • Chlorion (Chloriontinae)
Prionyx (Prionicini) • Isodontia (Sphecini) • Sphex (Sphecini)
Much of the world
Most species nest in the ground, usually in areas with sparse or no vegetation; some build aerial nests of mud; a few nest in hollow stems or abandoned bee burrows in logs • see (7)
Larvae feed on paralyzed arthropods (host varies according to wasp species) provided by adult; common hosts include spiders, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. Adults feed on nectar from flowers and extrafloral nectaries, honeydew, and body fluids of their prey.
Life Cycle
most are solitary nesters; some are kleptoparasitic, feeding their larvae with prey caught by other wasps • see (7)