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Species Notocyphus dorsalis

Black and red wasp - Notocyphus dorsalis Black and red wasp - Notocyphus dorsalis Wasp fell in poster paint? - Notocyphus dorsalis Notocyphus dorsalis The male - Notocyphus dorsalis - male Notocyphus dorsalis ?? - Notocyphus dorsalis - female Notocyphus dorsalis on narrowleaf milkweed - Notocyphus dorsalis Psorthaspis - Notocyphus dorsalis - female
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 Notocyphinae
Genus Notocyphus
Species dorsalis (Notocyphus dorsalis)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Townes (1957) classified this genus in the Ceropalinae, however recent work by Shimizu (1994) and Pitts (2006) has suggested that this genus belongs in its own subfamily or is an aberrant Pompiline. However, it does still share some characters with the Ceropalinae. It is still currently placed in its own subfamily, Notocyphinae.
15-20 mm.
Eyes parallel
Labrum not exposed
S6 laterally compressed in females
Pronotum with a distinct dorsal face that is separated from the anterior face by a distinct angulation
Pterostigma small, at most 2.5X as long as wide
Spine pits on meso- and metafemora absent or inconspicuous
Cu1 simple, without any basal downward deflection
Females with bright orange coloration on head and mesosoma, otherwise black. Males black with white markings.
s. CA west to s.c. TX. The subspecies appear to separate in the eastern half of NM, but there are relatively few records from New Mexico so more study is needed in the area to corroborate this.
Arid desert scrub and grasslands. Often found on flowers.
Mainly July-September
Adults visit flowers, especially milkweed. Koinobiont on Theraphosids:
Life Cycle
The female stings a tarantula and temporarily paralyzes it. The wasp then lays an egg on the spider. The spider recovers and the eggs hatches, the larva feeding on non-essential tissues first. When development is complete little is left of the spider; the larva pupates using silk and inedible pieces of the spider's exoskeleton. There appears to be a single generation per year.
Print References
Townes, H.K. 1957. Nearctic wasps of the subfamilies pepsinae and ceropalinae. U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 209: 1-286.

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.

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).

Shimizu, A. 1994. Phylogeny and classification of the family Pompilidae. Tokyo Metropolitan University, Bulletin of Natural History, 2:1-142.