Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Genus Priocnessus

Red wasp - Priocnessus nuperus - female Red wasp - Priocnessus nuperus - female Red wasp - Priocnessus nuperus - female Red wasp - Priocnessus nuperus - female Vespid - Priocnessus nuperus - female Spider wasp - Priocnessus coloradensis - female Spider wasp - Priocnessus coloradensis - female Wasp sp.? - Priocnessus nuperus
Classification
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)
Subfamily Pepsinae
Tribe Pepsini
Genus Priocnessus
Numbers
6 species in North America.
Size
12-25 mm, dimorphism not quite as marked in this genus as in many other pompilid genera.
Identification
Fairly easily distinguished from other pepsines in the nearctic region:
Cubital vein of anterior wing usually reaching the wing margin.
Posterior wing with anal vein meeting medial vein at or distal the origin of the cubitus.
Clypeus very large and convex.
Range
Transcontinental as a genus. Three species are restricted to the west (P. apache, P. coloradensis, and P. nigricans). Three species are fairly widespread (P. dakota, P. nebulosus, and P. nuperus)
Habitat
Varied, from open woods and woodland edges to semi-arid grasslands, etc.
Season
In the north this genus is found mid-summer to early autumn (approximately June to September). They have a longer flight period in the south.
Food
They apparently rarely visit flowers. They provision nests with Agelenid spiders.
Life Cycle
One generation per year in northern states.
See Also
Most similar to other large pepsine genera: Entypus and Cryptocheilus. Priocnemis minorata and Priocnessus nebulosus are superficially similar but date is usually sufficient to separate them.
Print References
Townes, H.K. 1957. Nearctic wasps of the subfamilies pepsinae and ceropalinae. U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 209: 1-286. (descriptions, distribution, keys)
Krombein, K.V. 1979. Pompilidae, pp. 1527-1528. 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.