Sphex pensylvanicus Great Black Wasp
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July? - adults nectaring - Middlesex Co., MA
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Taxonomy Tip - The Siricidae includes horntails, wood wasps, and sawflies. This and a number of other families of ancestral wasps make up the Symphyta, an informal assemblage (paraphyletic) not a discrete taxon. These wasps lack the constricted waist of their more recently evolved kin.
Taxonomy Tip - Along with the chalcid and ichneumenoid wasps, the braconids make up the Parasitica, an informal assemblage (paraphyletic) not a discrete taxon.
Taxonomy Tip - Along with the braconids and chalcids, the ichneumenoid wasps make up the Parasitica, an informal assemblage (paraphyletic) not a discrete taxon. The Ichneumonidae is the largest family of hymenopterans.
Taxonomy Tip - Each species represents one of four bee families including: Apidae, Colletidae, Halictidae, and Megachilidae. Bees are closely related to many of our "typical" solitary wasps and share many of their characteristics.
Taxonomy Tip - The Crabronids and Sphecids include most solitary wasps. These are the Apoid wasps (traditionally grouped as Sphecidae) and they are closely related to bees. Crabronidae young feed on paralyzed insect prey captured and provisioned by the adult female. Commonly referred to as sand wasps.
- Tachytes Sand-loving Wasp
- Bembix americana Sand Wasp
- Bicyrtes quadrifasciatus Sand Wasp
- Gorytes Digger Wasp
- Microbembex monodonta Sand Wasp
- Sphecius speciosus Cicada Killer
- Aphilanthops frigidus Queen Ant Hunter
- Cerceris fumipennis Buprestid Hunter
- Cerceris halone Weevil Hunter
- Philanthus gibbosus Beewolf
- Philanthus lepidus Beewolf
- Philanthus sanbornii Beewolf
- Philanthus ventilabris Beewolf
Taxonomy Tip - The Sphecids and Crabronids include most solitary wasps. These are the Apoid wasps (traditionally grouped as Sphecidae) and they are closely related to bees. Most species construct underground burrows where the eggs are laid and the young are raised. Each of these tasks as well as prey capture and provisioning is carried out by the adult females. The Specids are the thread-waisted solitary waps.
- Ammophila procera Thread-waisted Wasp
- Ammophila pictipennis Thread-waisted Wasp
- Chlorion aerarium Steel-blue Cricket Hunter
- Eremnophila aureonotata Thread-waisted Wasp
- Isodontia Grass-carrying Wasp
- Prionyx parkeri Digger Wasp
- Sphex ichneumoneus Great Golden Digger
- Sphex pensylvanicus Great Black Wasp
Taxonomy Tip - These wasps are nest parasites. Also know as Cuckoo Wasps for their habit of laying eggs in the nests of other species.
Taxonomy Tip - By nearly any measure ants are a dominant life form on our planet. Their extraordinary success is in large part due to their social structure and there are few non-marine habitats where they are not prevalent.
Taxonomy Tip - Also known as Velvet Ants, the female is wingless and often "hairy" giving her an ant-like appearance. The name Cow Killer is given to the females of some species and refers to the insect's potent sting .
Taxonomy Tip - Spider Wasps. These solitary wasps are typically black or dark colored and often flick their wings as they patrol the ground hunting for spider prey. When located the prey is stung, paralyzed, and dragged to the wasp's burrow where she provisions cells containing the egg/larvae of her offspring.
Taxonomy Tip - These rather heavy bodied wasps often have distinct, bright markings. The adults are regularly seen nectaring. Unlike most solitary wasps, the females are parisitoids. Their eggs are laid directly on scarab beetle larvae which are located by digging in the ground.
Taxonomy Tip - Similar to Scoliid wasps, the Tiphids are parasitods on beetle larvae. Females are wingless in some species and in these species the male is significantly larger than the female.
Taxonomy Tip - While this group includes the solitary Potter Wasps, most are social and build group nests where their young are raised in a communal fashion. Unlike solitary wasps, these social insects use their sting for protective purposes and may be aggressive, particularly around their nest site.