Friday, July 11, 2008

Spider Wasp (Tachypompilus ferrugineus)


A common wasp often found in open areas (old fields, meadows, prairies and woodland edges) throughout most of North America.  Adults feed on nectar/pollen.  Females provision their nest with spiders, usually Wolf Spiders (Family Lycosidae). 

A female captures and paralyzes prey prior to constructing a nest.   She then drags the spider back to the nesting area.  I do not know where this female captured her spider or the location of her nest, but she dragged the spider through the garden for about fifty feet while I was watching.  A couple of times one of the dogs wandered too close and she abandoned the spider.  However, both time she returned after several minutes and resumed her arderous journey.

Nests are constructed in a crevice or at the base of a rock pile, walls, or building.    The female scoops out a shallow depression in the soil, deposits prey and then lays her eggs.  She covers the nest with soil and debris.

Thanks to Nick Fensler on BugGuide for the ID.



 

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7 comments:

laughingwolf said...

i don't know whose side to take... i happen to like spiders, so i'll go with them

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Fascinating! You have a lot of patience to watch her drag the spider for 50 feet. I'm *not* a spider person; go Wasp!

Louise said...

Can hardly imagine watching the wasp drag the spider so far. Great picture. And what an education today! (OK, there is an education every day, but these are two common things I have seen a lot and did not know this.)

Shellmo said...

What a determined spider!

Shellmo said...

What a determined spider!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have never seen this type of wasp before. Getting to watch it drag its victim across the yard was a bonus. The closest thing to that I've seen was when that black wasp got into the spiders web a few weeks ago. I watched to see if the spider would win or the wasp. The wasp had to sting the spider several times but it ended up flying away with the spider instead of being wrapped up for later lunch for the spider.

AphotoAday said...

I can almost see you and your dogs, on your hands and knees following this creature for fifty feet...
Sounds like great fun...