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Psorthaspis mariae - female

Psorthaspis mariae - Female
Horton's Pond, Chatham County, North Carolina, USA
September 23, 2005
Size: 14 mm
Josh Rose saw this very active wasp hunting in leaf litter. At first we all thought it was a male velvet ant. I captured it, and on examination, I think it is likely a spider wasp. Chilled for photography, and length measured. Body length measured = 14 mm. Presumably a female, based on the hunting behavior(?)

Thanks to Herschel Raney for this identification! (And see notes on ID.)
Image updated 2/10/18 and detail images added.

Images of this individual: tag all
Psorthaspis mariae - female Psorthaspis mariae - female Psorthaspis mariae - female Psorthaspis mariae - female

Bradley and Psorthaspis
As I posted on the discussion board, according to J. Chester Bradley when he revised the genus in 1944 this does not match the description of Psorthaspis sanguinea. P. sanguinea would have uniformly infuscate wings, and in all of the pictures on this site I have seen clearly banded wings. However when I narrowed some of my southern Ohio specimens they keyed out to P. legata and P. mariae (both of which have banded wings). I don't believe Bradley's revised description matched his own keys. I will be sending specimens to someone who has more current literature or knowledge to confirm my ID's. Psorthaspis needs a great deal of work it appears. I'll probably visit Michigan State myself, I believe there is a P. mariae determined by Howard Evans in that collection. I'd trust any ID by him!

Correcting myself...again
Identifying spider wasps from photographs is a unique challenge for me. I'm used to identifying pinned specimens in cool rooms that smell of moth balls. With the help of Herschel Raney I was able to piece together (through the disadvantages of an old revision that apparently did not take into account individual variation) this Psorthaspis picture. Mr. Raney was able to e-mail me some shots of the museum specimens he had and that specimen was obviously P. sanguinea (having evenly infuscate wings). It is also obvious that these banded winged individuals (this and photograph #4929) are Psorthaspis mariae.

Psorthaspis sp
Very interesting information. You should correspond with Herschel Raney, perhaps, and discuss his examination of museum specimens in Arkansas, which is where this ID came from.

Sounds to me like the taxonomy is uncertain at the species level, and perhaps we should move all these photos up to the genus level.

Spider wasp
Just returned from the insect museum in Faytetteville where I looked at all the spider wasps again and shot some specimen shots of many.

This is definitely Psorthaspis sanguinea and not Dipogon. Very distinctive. One species pries open the lids of trapdoor spiders. Not sure which species of spider this one takes.

I don't know how up-to-date the NCSU collection is, they list P. brimleyi and P. legata as the most common species. Brimely's book (1) lists P. brimleyi from several nearby sites in the Piedmont. Did you see any of the other species in the genus in the collection? (I certainly have no idea--am just looking at those numbers.)

Many, many thanks on this one!

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

The collection had P. brimleyi, P. legata and P. sanguinea. This is sanguinea.


Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

If that is Dipogon, they are extraordinary. The key gives them three-toothed mandibles and a smooth hind tibiae (instead of serrate)as separation points. Don't know if you can see those features in any of your other shots. But you can send them to me anyway Patrick.

Yes, other shots available
I've got shots of the tibia, I'm not sure about the mandibles. I'll post some detail shots later next week.

There's a Dipogon pulcrhipennis, "beautiful wings" listed in Brimley and at NCSU. Sounds suspicious. Definitely worth a trip to the NCSU museum if we can't key it here.

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

The four I have for AR are D. pulchripennis (one specimen, I will have Jeff take a look), D. papago, D. fulleri and D. calipterus.

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