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Tiny Sphecid - Tachysphex - female

Tiny Sphecid - Tachysphex - Female
Snowhill Road north of Cabin Branch Creek, Treyburn area, Durham County, North Carolina, USA
June 29, 2006
Size: 8 mm
A female apparently, posed at the entrance to its nest. Size estimated--it was very petite, and I do have a photo of this next to a Bicyrtes, about 22-25 mm, I presume. This tiny wasp was not even 1/3 as long, making it 8 mm, or less.
See comments for identification.

Images of this individual: tag all
Tiny Sphecid - Tachysphex - female Tiny Sphecid - Tachysphex - female

Moved from Tachysphex.

Just realized that I misspelled the name. Correct is Tachysphex terminatus.

Tachysphex terminatus
Based on the black metasoma with red apex this is very likely T. terminatus. Another species with identical pattern is T. apicalis, which is much more uncommon and ecologically restricted (it nests in sloping banks or cliffs). Based on these images the two species ccould not be separated.

Moved from Larrinae.

Moved from Astata.

Not Astata.
This is not a species of Astata, which never have eyes like this for starters. I suspect it is either a species of Tachytes, or possibly Tachysphex. Very easy to get them confused!

Thanks, size
Aha! I should not have let my bias influence my perception of the size--I thought is smaller than 12 mm, but that was the minimum listed for Astata, which this is not. I looked at another photo of this same wasp next to a Bicyrtes, (about 22-25 mm?), and it is barely 1/3 as long, making it, perhaps, 8 mm.
I'll move to the subfamily. Sorry for my goof!

I think it is pretty safe to classify this as Tachysphex given its very diminutive size. Nice images.

I agree
looks like Tachysphex

In NC you will only have those two species. And I think those descriptions refer to females. So the males of either may be black I suppose. Yours appears to have some red on the tip of the abdomen.

My goof, a real Astata
OK, so you saw I made a goof! However, this appears to be an Astata:

Given the eyes (not holoptic), I'm thinking it is a female. Given the abdomen partly red, I'm thinking it should be A. bicolor? Is my thinking all wrong?

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