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



Family Pompilidae - Spider Wasps

Wasp vs. Spider - female Pompilidae - Psorthaspis sanguinea - female jet black wasp, brown wings, orange feelers Spider Wasp Body Scan - Anoplius americanus - female Curated Pepsis specimen from CAS collection - Pepsis mildei - male Pepsis or Cryptocheilus Pompilid with prey - Agenioideus humilis - female Pepsis - Pepsis thisbe
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)
Superfamily Pompiloidea (Spider Wasps, Velvet Ants and allies)
Family Pompilidae (Spider Wasps)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
higher taxonomy revised in (1)
Explanation of Names
Pompilidae Latreille 1804
~300 spp. in ca. 40 genera in our area(2), ~5,000 spp. in 125 genera worldwide(3)(4); 115 spp. in FL(5)
5-40 mm(2)
Family characteristics(6)(7):
Typically dark colored with smoky or yellowish wings; a few are brightly colored.
Slender with long and spiny legs, hind femora typically extending beyond tip of abdomen.
Tibiae of rear legs have two prominent spines at apex (distal end, next to tarsi)
Wings not folded flat on top of abdomen.
Mesopleuron with a transverse suture
Like the Vespidae, the Pompilidae have the pronotum extending back to the tegulae, the pronotum thus appearing triangular when viewed from the side and horseshoe-shaped when viewed from above.
Images illustrating these characters:

Forum post on taxonomic literature.
Adults usually found on flowers or on the ground searching for prey
Larvae feed on spiders. In some groups the females sting and paralyze their prey and then transport it to a specially constructed nest before laying an egg; in others, leave the paralyzed spider in its nest and lay an egg upon it.
Works Cited
1.Molecular phylogeny and systematics of spider wasps (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae): redefining subfamily boundaries...
Waichert C., Rodriguez J., Wasbauer M.S., von Dohlen C.D., Pitts J.P. 2015. Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 175: 271-287.
2.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
3.Pitts J.P. et al. (2013) The pompilid project
4.Order Hymenoptera. In: Zhang Z-Q (ed) Animal biodiversity: An outline of higher-level classif. and survey of taxonomic richness
Aguiar AP, Deans AR, Engel MS, Forshage M, Huber JT, Jennings JT, Johnson NF, Lelej AS, Longino JT, Lohrmann V, Mikó I, Ohl M. 2013. Zootaxa 3703: 51–62.
5.A distributional checklist of the spider wasps (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae) of Florida
Leavengood J.M., Waichert C., Rodriguez J. 2011. Insecta Mundi 0161: 1-8.
6.Borror and DeLong's Introduction to the Study of Insects
Norman F. Johnson, Charles A. Triplehorn. 2004. Brooks Cole.
7.Photographic Atlas of Entomology and Guide To Insect Identification
James L. Castner. 2000. Feline Press.