Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Calendar
Upcoming Events

National Moth Week photos of insects and people. Here's how to add your images.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa


TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Genus Ammophila

Ammophila? - Ammophila pictipennis - male Wasp?? - Ammophila pictipennis Group of thin abdomened wasps with a red, orange band hang out in a bush - Ammophila Ammophila Wasp - Ammophila - female sphecidae - Ammophila procera ukn thread-waisted wasp - Ammophila Sphecidae -- infected by fungus? Why sitting like this? - Ammophila Ammophila (juncea?) with caterpillar - Ammophila - female
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)
No Taxon (Apoid Wasps (Apoidea)- traditional Sphecidae)
Family Sphecidae (Thread-waisted Wasps)
Subfamily Ammophilinae
Genus Ammophila
Other Common Names
Thread-waisted wasps
Explanation of Names
Ammophila W. Kirby 1798
'sand lover'
Numbers
61 spp. in our area(1), >200 total(2)
Size
11-38 mm (most species 20-25 mm)
Identification
Medium-sized black wasps with a relatively long petiole ("thread-waisted"), and usually with orange on the abdomen.
Podalonia 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 --see figures A & C in(3)
Ammophila vs Podalonia
Generally, males have weaker reddish markings than females, are more slender, and lack a tarsal rake on the front legs.
Identification to species difficult.
Range
Holarctic; widespread in NA
Season
Summer into early fall. In NC, Apr-Nov (depending on species), typically May-Oct(4); in MI, Jun-Oct, typically Jul-Aug(5)
Food
Adults visit flowers. Larva feed on caterpillars and sawflies provisioned by the adult female.
Life Cycle
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.
Remarks
Behavior described in(6)
Print References
Brockmann (1985) on tool use in Sphecinae
Menke A.S. (1964) New species of North American Ammophila (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae). Acta Hymenopterol. 2: 5-27.
Menke A.S. (1966) New species of North American Ammophila, Part II (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae). Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 79: 25-40. (Full text)
Menke A.S. (1966) A revision of the North American Ammophila (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae). Ph.D. thesis. Univ. California. Dissertation Abstracts 26(4): 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. (Full Text)
Menke A.S. (2007) Ammophila nancy Menke, a new species in the pruinosa complex (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae: Ammophilinae). Zootaxa 1546: 31–38
Stevens, L.E. & Menke, A.S. (2014). Biogeography of Ammophila (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae) in the Grand Canyon ecoregion, southwestern USA. Western North American Naturalist 74(2): 216-222. (Full Text)
Works Cited
1.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
2.Catalog of Sphecidae sensu lato
3.Sphecid wasps of the world: a generic revision
Richard Mitchell Bohart, Arnold S. Menke. 1976. University of California Press.
4.Insects of North Carolina
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
5.The Sphecid Wasps of Michigan (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae: Sphecinae), by M.F. O'Brien
6.Wasp Farm
Howard Ensign Evans. 1963. Comstock Publishing.