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Cockroach Wasp - Ampulex ferruginea

Cockroach Wasp - Ampulex ferruginea
Henryetta, Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, USA
October 23, 2005
Size: aprox. 8mm
Very quick.

Ampulex species
I think the individual in this photograph should belong under A. ferruginea instead of A. canaliculata. I just identified some "back-logged" insects from my personal collection and it seems that I came across an Ampulex canaliculata. As in all my comments, I feel I should give ample reasoning behind my "proposal" for change. The specimen I have IS an Ampulex (keyed from American Insects; Arnett, 2000, pp. 93-94), captured from Allen County, Ohio. It fits well into the range of A. canaliculata, but not so well into the range of A. ferruginea. Ampulex ferruginea is apparently a more southern species, listed as present in Florida and Texas in American Insects. This is just a supporting reason however, used on the basis that the middle of Oklahoma is far closer to Texas than northwest Ohio. Here are the stronger morphological reasons: my specimen in in the tribe Ampulicini (main character: petiolate gaster). That narrows it down to two species, those mentioned above. I don't have a key that separates the two species but I have seen museum specimens of A. ferruginea (OSU Collection of Insects and Spiders) and those specimens were, well...mostly ferruginous (all except the gaster). The A. canaliculata that I have is entirely black, except the wings. The wings are moderately infuscate with a broad, dark, subapical band and a small, rather obscure mark around the basal vein. I wouldn't be considered an expert on sphecids but I think this changed arrangement in the guide would be the correct one. I do have a digital camera with a macro function. I have taken a few shots of the wasp, but after the editors take a look at them (especially Mr. Eaton) and decide what to do with the image above, mine will probably belong in frass.

I have relocated this one to a new species page.
Eric, can you comment on this change? Here's Nick's comparison image (below):

No argument.
I wasn't aware that there was more than one species in North America. Sounds like Nick is much more up-to-date than I am:-)

Wow! This is at the least a new genus for Bugguide. Depending on what authority you consult, it is also a new family: Ampulicidae. These are stinging wasps that paralyze wood cockroaches (usually nymphs). They sting the roach just enough so it is powerless to flee. Instead, it allows the wasp to tow it by an antennae to a cavity where the wasp will store it, and lay an egg on it. These are pretty common wasps, but are easily mistaken for ants as they run up and down tree trunks. This is a very red specimen. Most I have seen are gray.

Thanks Eric.
I only got one shot at it but there was something about it that made me think that it was not an ant.

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