Spider Wasp (Auplopus mellipes)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Spider Wasp.
Updated: 9/5/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Spider Wasps become unexpected friends to other insects by removing a shared predator.
Spider Wasps are wasps that hunt spiders. This species will attack a jumping spider and paralyze it. The wasp may even pull off a few, or all, of its legs to expedite transport to its nest. The chelicerae (jaws) are strong and they hold onto the spider as the wasp walks, or flies if the spider is small, it back home.
Spider wasps nest in mud pots that have been created and abandoned by Mud Daubers, another type of wasp. A female will drop the paralyzed spider in one of the pots and lay a fertilized egg in there with it. They close the pot with mud or plant debris. Once the wasp larvae hatches, it eats the internal parts of the spider as it grows. Although the larvae are carnivorous in an almost gruesome way, adults are flower-loving and drink nectar.
This insect is capable of painful stinging and is best given wide berth, especially if it is a nesting female. This species can be found in woods, forests and other habitats that allow for good hunting.