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spider wasp carying it's prey - Caliadurgus fasciatellus

spider wasp carying it's prey - Caliadurgus fasciatellus
Harvard, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA
August 6, 2004

Caliadurgus hyalinatus
This holarctic species was described by a European worker. When someone went back through and went through all of the specimens they probably found an earlier type specimen. When this happens the earliest name gets priority and that's what has happened to this species. It has rather recently gone by three different scientific names: Calicurgus hyalinatus, Caliadurgus fasciatellus, and finally the current valid name: Caliadurgus hyalinatus. Also, it may have been getting ready to do something awesome. To avoid having it's kid's meal getting stolen by other insects while it constructs a nest it will suspend the spider to plants by the spider's own silk. This behavior is described in more detail by Kurczewski and Spofford (The Great Lakes Entomologist, 1985, 18:1, pp.41-44).

The pompilid project still lists this as Calicurgus and it lists four subspecies. Was there a new name change that the project isn't aware of?

just looked at this comment...I actually stumbled upon it through a web search. I'm sure they are aware of the name change and my reasoning is from M.C. Day, a British taxonomist. It is in the taxonomy changes forum here. I have e-mailed both James Pitts and Marius Wasbauer about the change and they have apparently skirted the question. In fact, James Pitts never returned my message at all (although he may be doing field work). They did use Caliadurgus in place of Calicurgus in thier paper on subfamily relationships (Pitts et al., 2006, referred to several times on pp. 67-70). But they use Caliadurgus hyalinatus, so there has to be some reason for still applying that specific epithet. Either way I think they consider Caliadurgus to be the most valid genus for our species (even though they don't indicate this in the species lists...and I can't really explain why they do this). I'll probably change the epithet back to hyalinatus, since that is the one they use in their paper and it is by the far the most recent paper that applies to our fauna.

Next time I'll be more patient
and watch to see the wasp hang the spider with it's silk. That would be interesting to document. Nick, thanks for the ID and the great story.

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