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Photo#5685
Blue-Black Spider Wasp - Psorthaspis brimleyi - female

Blue-Black Spider Wasp - Psorthaspis brimleyi - Female
Durham County, North Carolina, USA
June 23, 2004
Size: 24 mm
Found hunting rapidly through the leaf litter of a deciduous forest. Captured, with great difficulty, chilled, and posed, then released. Hunting behavior indicates it is a female. Body length is 24 mm. I've seen this wasp several times here in Durham, NC. Dorsal view of same individual shown in linked images.

This wasp sure looks like it could be the model for Mydas clavatus, as the pattern is very similar:


Images of this individual: tag all
Blue-Black Spider Wasp - Psorthaspis brimleyi - female Blue-Black Spider Wasp - Psorthaspis brimleyi - female

Psorthaspis brimleyi
Earlier today I posted about these two pictures and how they show the main characters of the aporini. Now that I go back and look at it again I realize that it shows it spectacularly. This is a species of Psorthaspis (P. brimleyi) with all dark wings and a mostly black body save a pair of fused orange spots on the third tergite (see Bradley, 1944, if a copy can be found-I got mine from the Netherlands!). I've only ever seen pinned specimens. Neat!

 
identification?
I took some photos that weren't as detailed as the posed one because the situation was unexpected. I do, however, have detailed photos of the spider it attacked and a nice video of the wasp dragging it away. Is there any way I could send these to you or someone else and get an ID on it? If so, e-mail me at jim_berlin@hotmail.com.

 
Moving to Psorthaspis brimleyi
Thanks, I've moved these photos. This is a challenging species to photograph--I saw what was probably this species today (3 July) in Orange County, NC, and it was completely hyperactive--hunting through the leaf litter, almost never stopping.

 
Psorthaspis
I have now taken specimens of this wasp and it is quite distinctive in life and in photos. I have almost always seen them hunting through leaf litter but have yet to see one take a spider. The blue-black metallic reflections in this wasp under the scope are breathtaking. I will attempt to shoot a good shot of my recent specimen later this week.

Notes on ID
See comments here.
I'll get to this a bit later. Thanks for the information.

Brimley (1) lists that at Pedinaspis brimleyi from Raleigh (type locality), Cary, Beaufort, Marion, Wilkes County, July-September.

Spider wasp
You got it, Pat, about the mimic and the model. This is a spider wasp (family Pompilidae), genus Anoplius, probably A. atrox, though you really have to key them out. I'd love to see many more images of pompilids. Our field guide has almost no images thusfar, aside from tarantula hawks, and the white-spotted Episyron species.

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