This genus is monotypic in North America, Paracyphononyx funereus.
Typically 15-24 mm. Sexual dimorphism with respect to size and shape is apparently not as marked in this species as it is in other pompilines.
A. Subfamily Characters
1. Spine pits present on the dorsal subapical portion of the posterior femora.
2. Spines at end of hind tibia are splayed out and are of uneven length and spcaing.
3. "Pocket" in the basioposterior corner of the third discal cell cause by the deflection of the subdiscoidal vein.
4. Hind tibia of nearctic species never serrate.
1, 2, 4:
B. Tribe Characters: Pompilini
1. Pronotum short, generally much shorter than mesonotum.
-Streptaulus complete (Streptaulus: a suture separating the collar of the pronotum from the disc; it is usually dorsomedially absent in the Aporini).
2. Anterior wing most often with three submarginal cells.
-Antennae generally longer than in the companion group, the Aporini.
-Front femora never incrassate.
-Head generally broader at the temples (head very thin in the Aporini).
-Clypeus never forming bridge with frons (as in Psorthaspis).
compare this Aporine:
2: two SMs are outlined in red, the first SMC is the long cell to the immediate right of the middle (second) SMC.
This genus is monotypic in the nearctic and its generic characters also serve to identify the one species, P. funereus.
1. Long malar space, at least as logn as the antennal pedicel (second segment of the antenna, between the scape and flagellum)
2. Fully exposed labrum.
3. Last sternite strongly laterally compressed and hirsute.
4. Antennae beyond the third segment crenulate (or subserrate).
Also refer to diagnostic characters that this species LACKS in the remarks section below.
Probably transcontinental, except the Pacific Coast (see Krombein et al, 1979). Data is lacking in some areas.
This species may be restricted to areas of loose, dry soil or at least that is what records indicate from collected specimens. In Ohio they have been found only in the Oak Openings region in an area of vegetated dunes, atypical for the state:
Late summer-early Autumn (mainly July through September). Rarely recorded before June in the north.
Adults frequently visit flowers including the following: Asclepias
, and Daucus
One generation per year. In the northern half of North America this species is on the wing from early July through September. There does not seem to be a significant differential between the dates of emergence in males and females. Females can be found provisioning nests mainly in July and August. This is probably a fossorial species, but its biology is generally little known. They are known to prey upon Hogna lenta
Distinctive under the microscope when compared to other nearctic species. However, in the field females are difficult to separate from other all-black Pompilini, especially Arachnospila and Anoplius. Males are fairly easy to identify in the field, with good looks, because of their subserrate antennae.
A, B-Anoplius spp.
In good photos note the following characters lacking in Paracyphononyx:
-Pygidial bristles on the terminal tergite in females in Anoplius, none in Arachnospila but both genera lack a strongly compressed last sternite.
-True tarsal comb in many species.
Also: Antennae of males RARELY crenulate (subserrate) in Anoplius and Arachnospila.
In the hand look for the following differences:
-Malar space in Anoplius and
See above for separation from similar genera (Anoplius and Arachnospila).
Krombein, K.V. 1979. Pompilidae, pp. 1523-1571. 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. (prey record, state distribution records)
Evans, H.E. 1951. A taxonomic study of the nearctic spider wasps belonging to the tribe pompilini, Part III. Trans. Amer. Entomol. Soc., 77: 203-342 (description).