Sphecid Wasps (Sphecidae)

Dr. Charles C. Porter compiled this list of 67 species found in NATL from his long-term studies of sphecids in NATL prior to the restoration of NATL's upland pine.
This large group of wasps includes the digger wasps, sand wasps, and mud daubers, and most have no vernacular names. In addition to the scientific name of each species, the preferred prey and types of nests used are described. Dr. Porter is currently a Research Associate with the Florida State Collection of Arthropods. He received his PhD from Harvard in 1967 and was Professor of Biology at Fordham University, 1972-1993. His research interests are the taxonomy and ecology of Hymenoptera (esp. Ichneumonidae) in the New World.

Scientific name Prey and Habitats
Subfamily Ampulicinae
Dolichurus greeneiProvisions its nests, in stems and other crevices, with cockroaches
Subfamily Sphecinae
Podium luctuosumProvisions nests in crevices with cockroaches
Podium rufipesHunts cockroaches: Parcoblatta, Cariblatta, Eurycotis, etc.
Chalybion californicumProvisions with spiders; nests in pre-existing cavities or structures (including abandoned mud dauber nests)
Sceliphron caementariumMud dauber. Makes mud nests & provisions with spiders.
Sphex dorsalisMakes burrows in ground (nesting strategy of entire genus). Hunts orthopterans, e.g., Conocephalus.
Sphex flavovestitusFossorial; prey long-horned Orthoptera
Sphex habenusFossorial; prey long-horned Orthoptera
Sphex ichneumoneusFossorial; prey long-horned Orthoptera: Gryllacrididae and Tettigoniidae (e.g. Conocephalinae, Decticinae, Phaneropterinae)
Sphex pensylvanicusFossorial; Tettigoniidae in genera Microcentrum & Scudderia
Isodontia apicalisGenus is not fossorial; nests in hollow plant stems, rolled leaves, abandoned bee burrows in logs, in ground, or in crevices among stones; uses gryllid and tettigoniid Orthoptera. No prey records for this species.
Isodontia auripesPrey records: Oecanthinae, Conocephalinae, Decticinae, Eneopterinae, & Phaneropterinae
Isodontia exornataNo prey records
Palmodes dimidiatusGenus fossorial. This species uses decticine tettigoniids: Atlanticus, Pediodectes.
Prionyx parkeriGenus fossorial and uses only acridid Orthoptera as prey. This species recorded from Melanoplus, Spharagemon & Xyleus.
Eremnophila aureonotataFossorial, prey of this and other species are larger Lepidoptera larvae, e.g., Noctuidae, Sphingidae.
Ammophila nigricansThis and other species fossorial and provision with Lepidoptera or sawfly larvae
Ammophila pictipennisSee above.
Ammophila proceraSee above.
Ammophila urnariaSee above.
Subfamily Pemphredoninae
Mimumesa longicornisThis and other species dig nests in clay banks and decaying wood and use Homoptera (cicadellids, delphacids) as prey.
Psen sp.Genus makes burrow in stumps and dead trees or sometimes in earth or clay banks. Provisioning is with Homoptera (e.g., Cicadellidae, Membracidae, Fulgoridae).
Pluto rufibasisGenus makes burrow in sandy or clay banks; provisions with leafhoppers (e.g., Opsius).
Pemphredon sp.Genus utilizes cavities in wood, reeds, canes, grass culms, or makes its own burrows in dead wood; all species provision with aphids.
Stigmus sp.Genus nests in timber, galls, etc., and may use preexisting cavities or make its own nests; provisioning is with aphids.
Subfamily Larrinae
Larra bicolorThis South American species has been introduced to Florida for biocontrol of mole crickets--Gryllotalpidae--and seems well established at Gainesville.
Liris argentataGenus prefers preexisting burrows in soil for nesting, but a few species excavate their own tunnels. Gryllid crickets are the usual prey. These are among the few sphecids that remain active all winter at Gainesville.
Liris beataSee above.
Liris panamensis muesebeckiSee above.
Tachytes chrysopyga obscurusMost species in this genus hunt orthopterans, e.g., Acrididae, Tettigoniidae, Tetrigidae & Tridactylidae. Nests are excavated in soil.
Tachytes distinctus distinctusSee above.
Tachytes grisselliSee above.
Tachytes guatemalensisSee above.
Tachytes auricomusSee above.
Tachysphex mundus exsectusGenus burrow in soil, provisions with orthopteroids: Acrididae especially, Tettigonidae, Gryllidae, Blattidae, & Mantidae.
Tachysphex mundus mundusSee above.
Tachysphex utinaSee above.
Tachysphex antennatusSee above.
Tachysphex crassiformisSee above.
Trypoxylon (Trypargilum) politumMembers of this subgenus make their own mud nests, which resemble a series of organ pipes. Provisions with spiders.
Trypoxylon (Trypargilum) collinum See above.
Trypoxylon (Trypargilum) lactitarse See above.
Trypoxylon (Trypargilum) johannis See above.
Bothynostethus distinctusGenus remodels preexisting tunnels in sandy soil and provisions with adult chrysomelid beeltes (Galerucinae).
Subfamily Crabroninae
Oxybelus laetus laetusGenus burrows in sand/sandy soil and provisions with a large array of small to medium sized adult Diptera (esp. Therevidae, Chironomidae, Sarcophagidae & Muscidae)
Anacrabro ocellatus ocellatusNests in soil, often near water; provisions with Lygus (Hemiptera: Miridae).
Rhopalum (Rhopalum) atlanticumMost species nest in twigs or reeds and provision mainly with small Diptera.
Crossocerus (Blepharipus) impressifrons This subgenus makes nests in logs, branches, stumps, posts, etc., and provisions mostly with small Diptera.
Crossocerus (Blepharipus?) krombeini See above.
Ectemnius (Hypocrabro) rufipes rufipes Genus nests in decayed wood (logs, stumps), or sometimes in sound wood; provisions with Diptera.
Ectemnius (Hypocrabro) scaber scaber See above.
Subfamily Nyssoninae
Alysson melleusGenus nests in moist, cool sites, often in sandy soil and provisions with Homoptera of the families Fulgoridae and (rarely ) Cercopidae.
Synnervus aequalis Biology unknown.
Epinysson sp.Species of this genus are parasites of the Genus Hoplisoides (Sphecidae: Nyssoninae).
Ochleroptera bipunctataGenus nests in sandy soil, often on banks and provisions with Hemiptera (Membracidae, Cicadellidae, Cercopidae, Fulgoridae, & Psyllidae).
Agrogorytes sp.Genus nests in clay or gravel slopes and provisions with cercopid Homoptera (European species, no bio-data for U.S. species).
Gorytes dorothyae russeolusGenus constructs nests in soil and provisions with Homoptera (Cicadellidae, Fulgoridae, & Membracidae).
Sphecius speciosusNests in soil and provisions with Cicadidae (Homoptera).
Hoplisoides placidus placidusGenus nests in soil and provisions with Homoptera (Membracidae, Fulgoridae).
Bicyrtes quadrifasciataGenus nests in sandy soil and provisions with Hemiptera (esp. Pentatomidae, Coreidae, and Reduviidae).
Stictia carolinaGenus nests (often in huge gregarious swarms) in sandy soil and provision with large Diptera, especially Tabanidae.
Stictiella sp.Genus nests in dry sandy soil (but often near water) and provisions with small adult Lepidoptera (Hesperiidae, Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, Noctuidae, Pyralidae, et. al.)
Philanthus gibbosusGenus nests in bare, sandy soil & provisions with other Aculeate Hymenoptera adults (esp. Halictidae but also Andrenidae, Anthophoridae, Apidae, Colletidae & Megachilidae, etc.)
Philanthus politusSee above.
Cerceris rufopictaGenus nest in bare, compact soil or sandbanks and provisions with adult Coleoptera in families such as Curculionidae, Buprestidae, Chrysomelidae, Tenebrionidae, & Bruchidae.
Cerceris blakeiSee above.
Cerceris toltecaSee above. Abundant in summer on Cassia.