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Tarantula Hawk? - Pepsis menechma

Tarantula Hawk? - Pepsis menechma
Forsyth, Taney County, Missouri, USA
September 21, 2006
Size: 1 1/2" ?
I'm pretty sure this is a Tarantula Hawk. I have not seen a black one like this before, it did have a slight blue tint. With gusty winds and overcast the photos are not very good but I have more I can send for a good ID.

I hear these have a nasy sting. This one did back me off a few times but was not aggresive.

Al Askevold
Forsyth, MO

Pepsis menechma
Pepsis elegans and its western counterpart Pepsis cerberus have been synonymized under Pepsis menechma.

Pepsis elegans? (Pompilidae)

This is a female Pepsis elegans elegans! I was fortunate enough to collect about 3 or 4 specimens during the year I lived down there. There is one other species in your area, by the way, that has the classic orange wings. Never managed to catch that one:-)

The ID pointed me to the pages in the guide for this one, it's the first of the kind I have seen in Missouri, black or red wing. I have seen what I think (from the guide) was a Poecilopompilus interruptus last year. This one was dragging a tarantula, very aggressive and no chance for a macro even if I had my camera.

Eric, you must have spent quite some time in the cedar glades! I'll be spending quite a bit of time in Cedar Creek this fall now that the ticks are thinning, bad year for them! Some family just bought land there on Cotton Rock Rd., close to Chase(sp) Studio.

Al Askevold
Forsyth, MO

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