Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Recent evidence suggests that the Ceropalinae is much more restricted than defined by Townes (1957)(Pitts et al., 2006). The genera Notocyphus and Minagenia either belongs in its own subfamily (the former) or in the pepsinae (the latter). Currently the only other genus included in the subfamily Ceropalinae is extralimital to the nearctic (Irenangelus, pantropical).
Explanation of Names
Ceropales Latreille, 1896
3-15 mm. Dimorphism with respect to size is not as marked in this genus as it is in many other pompilid genera.
S6 of female strongly compressed laterally
Labrum fully exposed.
Eyes strongly divergent above, emarginate above the middle.
Spines at apex of hind tibia of equal size and spacing.
None of the nearctic species have serrate hind tibia.
Lacks a groove in the second sternite and a pocket in the basioposterior corner of the third discal cell.
Transcontinental. Some species are restricted, others are small and poorly known and may be more widespread than collection records indicate.
Varied, related to host (see life cycle). Many species inhabit woods.
Most of the warm season from May (early records from late April in Townes (1957)) to October.
Adults often visit flowers. Spider prey varied (see Life Cycle).
These wasps are cleptoparasites of other pompilidae. Females perch on vegetation, stalking a host female until it has found and paralyzed a prey item. The female Ceropales then lays an egg in the book lungs of the paralyzed spider prey of other spider wasps when the prey is left unattended during nest construction. The larva that hatches eats the host egg and then the spider. Some species may have several generations per year; larger species are normally univoltine.
Townes, H.K. 1957. Nearctic wasps of the subfamilies pepsinae and ceropalinae. U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 209: 1-286. (keys, descriptions, distribution)
Krombein, K.V. 1979. Pompilidae, pp. 1569-1570. In Krombein, K.V., P.D. Hurd, Jr., D.R. Smith, and B.D. Burks, eds. Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico. Vol. 2 Apocrita (Aculeata). Smithsonian Inst. Press, Washington, D.C. (species, distribution, hosts of some species)
Pitts, J.P., M.S. Wasbauer, C.D. von Dohlen. 2006. Preliminary morphological analysis of relationships between the spider wasp subfamilies (Hymenoptera:Pompilidae): revisiting an old problem. Zoologica Scripta, 35:1 (pp.63-84).