spider wasp

(Family Pompilidae)

spider wasp (Family Pompilidae)
Photo by Alfredo Colon

Pompilidae is the family of spider wasps. There are about 5,000 species in 125 genera in 6 subfamilies of spider wasp worldwide, about 300 species in about 40 genera in North America north of Mexico, and at least 70 species in Minnesota.

Spider wasps are solitary. After mating, the female paralyzes one spider, drags it to her burrow, and lays a single egg. If the spider is large, a female will be produced. If it is small, the offspring will be a male.


Most spider wasps are slender and black or dark blue, sometimes metallic. Wasps have a three-segmented thorax. On spider wasps the third segment is solidly fused to its exoskeletal plate (pronotum) and to the middle segment, making them strong fliers; and the first segment is well developed, making them strong diggers. Abdominal segments 1 and 2 are narrow. Most spider wasps have long wings. The legs are long and spiny. The third segment (femur) of the hind leg often reaches past the end of the abdomen. The fourth segment (tibia) of the hind leg usually have a conspicuous spine at the end.


Distribution Map



24, 27, 30, 82.



Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)  


Apocrita (narrow-waisted wasps, ants, and bees)  


Aculeata (ants, bees, and stinging wasps)  


Pompiloidea (spider wasps, velvet ants and allies)  

Subordinate Taxa


Subfamily Ceropalinae

Subfamily Ctenocerinae

Subfamily Notocyphinae

Subfamily Pompilinae (typical spider wasps)

Subfamily Pepsinae (tarantula-hawk wasps and allies)






Common Names


pompilid wasp

spider wasp











On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.



The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.



The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).






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Alfredo Colon

    spider wasp (Family Pompilidae)      



Looking for ID

wasp paralyzes jumping spider equal to size and tries to carry it away.

  spider wasp (Family Pompilidae)  
    spider wasp (Family Pompilidae)   spider wasp (Family Pompilidae)  
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Other Videos
  Pompilidae (Spider Wasp)
Paul Verhulst

Uploaded on Aug 2, 2011

This video is made in my backyard. While we were eating, an spiderwasp (Pompilidae) attacked a spider. In a few seconds he was paralyzed by the venomous sting. (This tragedy happened the first of August (2011).

After that i decided to follow the wasp and his prey to his hole.

The footage was shot using a iPhone 4.
Compiled with After Effects.

  avispa versus araña ( Pompilidae)

Published on Jan 11, 2015

Filmado en Parque Finky el 10-01-2015. La avispa hembra captura, pica y paraliza a la araña, entonces arrastra a su presa de vuelta a su madriguera o a un nido especialmente preparado, donde un solo huevo se deposita en el abdomen de la araña, posteriormente bloquea la entrada dejandola atrapada. Cuando la larva de la avispa eclosiona, crea un pequeño agujero en el abdomen de la araña, para entrar en él, alimentándose vorazmente, evitando órganos vitales tanto tiempo como le sea posible para mantenerla viva. Después de varias semanas, la larva se convierte en pupa. Finalmente, se convierte en un adulto y emerge del abdomen de la araña.


Published on Jul 18, 2015

avispa Pompilidae haciendo una cueva de cría

Google Translate: Pompilidae wasp making a breeding cave

  Pompilidae and his spider
Mark Mile

Published on Feb 1, 2013

i very lucky that i have seen.......!!!




Visitor Sightings

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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Albany, NY

spider wasp (Family Pompilidae)  

Location: Mound, Mn

wasp paralyzes jumping spider equal to size and tries to carry it away.

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I looked at the UofM and the wasp is a type of Sphecid.


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It is possible that it is a spider wasp. Which is a different classification than Sphecid.
Spider wasps comprise the family Pompilidae in the order Hymenoptera.
I am unsure about which one my wasp is, but am leaning towards Pompilidae,  as I cannot find a picture or description in the family Sphecid that fully describes the one I saw. There are 8000 known species, it turns out. But the photo of the spider wasp that I found is more like my photo in that it has very long hind legs, and is solid black with a hint of color to the wings.

Maybe somebody can help clear it up? I wish I had a better photo than my smart phone could provide. It was moving and hopping around rapidly as it was attempting to carry the spider off.

Spider wasp (everythingabout.net)

spider wasp (Family Pompilidae)  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings






Created: 10/27/2015

Last Updated:

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