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  • Spider Wasp - (Auplopus mellipes)

    Spider Wasp - (Auplopus mellipes)

    Spider Wasps become unexpected friends to other insects by removing a shared predator.

    Staff Writer (9/5/2014): 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.

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    Details of the:
    Spider Wasp

    Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
    Common name: Spider Wasp
    Scientific Name: Auplopus mellipes

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Hymenoptera
          Family: Pompilidae
           Genus: Auplopus
            Species: mellipes

    Size (Adult, Length): 20mm to 36mm (0.79in to 1.42in)

    Identifying Colors: black, orange

    Additional Descriptors: flying, stinging, mud, pots, barrels

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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