11-38 mm (most species 20-25 mm)
Medium-sized black wasps with a relatively long petiole ("thread-waisted"), and usually with orange on the abdomen.
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)
Generally, males have weaker reddish markings than females, are more slender, and lack a tarsal rake on the front legs.
Identification to species difficult.
Holarctic; widespread in NA
Summer into early fall. In NC, Apr-Nov (depending on species), typically May-Oct(4)
; in MI, Jun-Oct, typically Jul-Aug(5)
Adults visit flowers. Larva feed on caterpillars and sawflies provisioned by the adult female.
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.
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