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Sphex ichneumoneus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Apis ichneumonea Linnaeus, 1758

Life   Insecta   Hymenoptera   Apoidea   Sphecidae   Sphex
Subgenus: Sphex

Sphex ichneumoneus
© Gary McDonald, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz · 9
Sphex ichneumoneus

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Sphex ichneumoneus
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Sphex ichneumoneus
Sphex ichneumoneus
© Thom Wilson of Baltimore City, MD, CityEcology@gmail.com · 9
Sphex ichneumoneus

Sphex ichneumoneus, face
© Scott Nelson · 9
Sphex ichneumoneus, face
Sphex ichneumoneus, male, face
© Gary McDonald, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz · 9
Sphex ichneumoneus, male, face

Sphex ichneumoneus, male, side
© Gary McDonald, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz · 9
Sphex ichneumoneus, male, side
Sphex ichneumoneus, male, side
© Gary McDonald, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz · 9
Sphex ichneumoneus, male, side

Sphex ichneumoneus, spread
© Scott Nelson · 9
Sphex ichneumoneus, spread
Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp
© Copyright Sheryl Pollock 2011 · 9
Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp

Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp
© Copyright Sheryl Pollock 2011 · 8
Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp
Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp
© Copyright Sheryl Pollock 2011 · 8
Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp

Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp
© Copyright Sheryl Pollock 2011 · 7
Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp
Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp
© Copyright Sheryl Pollock 2011 · 7
Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp

Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp
© Copyright Sheryl Pollock 2011 · 7
Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp
Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp
© Copyright Sheryl Pollock 2011 · 6
Sphex ichneumoneus, Great Golden Digger Wasp
Overview
Taken from: Bohart, R.M., Menke, A.S. 1963. A Reclassification of the Sphecinae: With a Revision of the Nearctic Species of the Tribes Sceliphronini and Sphecini.
Male.—Length about 19 mm; head, thorax, femora partly, and gastral segments ITT—Vu black (III partly red basally); mandible basally, scape ventrally, tegula, tibia, and gastral segments I and II red; erect hair of head, thorax, and sternites V—VIII golden; face, postocular area, lobe and ridge of pronotum, and tegula with appressed golden pile; similar pubescence in lateral furrows of seutum, spots on scutellum, mesopleural spot behind pronotal lobe, propodeum, and spot above hind coxa; flagellomeres IV—VI with fossulae (fig. 92); sternite VIII acutely produced; genitalia as in figure 83.
Female.—Average length 23 mm; markings and pubescence about as in male but femora usually all red and trochanters sometimes a little or all red; golden pile more abundant, especially along stigmatal groove and on propodeal enclosure; fore femur with scattered bristly hair on lower one-half of outer surface, mostly concentrated along ventral line.

Names
Scientific source:

Sphex ichneumoneus (Linnaeus) (Frontispiece; figs. 12, 43, 46, 52, 83, 92, 108, 113) Apis ichneumonea Linnaeus, 1758, Systema Nat., 10th ed., p. 578. Lectotype ♀, “habitat in America” (type locality here restricted to Surinam, the area in which Rolander collected the material on which Linnaeus based his description) (STOCKHOLM). Present designation. Nomada surinamensis Retzius, 1783, Genera et Species Insectorum, p. 62. New name for Apis ichneumonea Linneaus, 1758. Sphex dimidiatus Lepeletier, 1845. Hist. Nat. Insect, Hymen., 3:352. Holotype ♂ (labeled ♀ by Lepeletier), “Am. Sept.” (TURIN). Preoccupied by Sphex dimidiatus De Geer, 1773.


Geographic distribution
Distribution.—The species is widespread from southern Canada to Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador. The range of this large, handsome wasp in the United States is especially interesting when plotted on the basis of the more “clear-winged” versus the more “dark-winged” individuals. The band “dividing” these approximates the 100th meridian, which seems to be significant in so many other wasps as well as other insects. This band stretches irregularly from north to south, and it probably varies in location from year to year depending upon climate. Its approximate extent is indicated in figure 12. Paige, 1961, made a study of this situation and attempted to delimit a reason- able dividing band on the basis of available information concerning wasp data, faunal zones, vegetation, and climate. Material furnished by the University of Nebraska was particularly significant. Paige decided that climate, especially precipitation and humidity, was the greatest determinant, because of its influence on vegetation and faunal zones. Figure 12 illustrates the observed distribution. The paler-winged form was found to be largely limited by the eastern boundary of the western Dry-Subhumid Belt. Here in the western Steppe, there is no accretion of ground water, except in rainy years, and thus the subsoil is virtually permanently dry. In the eastern Prairie of the Moist-Subhumid Belt, in contrast, there is a precipitation surplus and a moist subsoil. Here the dark-winged form is dominant and ranges to the eastern coast. Of further interest is the fact that the line between the dry and moist subhumid climates also separates the aluminum- and iron-accumulating soils to the east, which contain the more soluble materials subject to leaching, and the lime-accumulating soils to the west wherein the soil water is lost by evaporation or transpiration and soluble materials tend to concentrate near the ground surface. The overlapping ranges of wing types and the existence of some intermediate forms can be explained by the fluctuation of rainfall over periods of wet and dry years in the area along the dividing zone whose approximate center is an isoline drawn north to south through points of about twenty inches of annual rainfall in the central United States. A possible explanation for the differences in wing color is that the sun’s rays pass through the relatively clear wings of the arid-region form without excessive heat asorption and consequent water loss. In the humid-region form there may be a selective advantage in the absorption of energy-producing heat by the dark wings because water loss is less important. If this is true, it would account for the fact that a majority of desert-inhabiting wasps have clear wings whereas those of moist areas have much darker wings on the average.

Natural history
Through the kindness of Dr. Erie Kjellander of the Riksmuseet, Stockholm, we have been able to examine two Linnaean female syntypes, one of which is hereby labeled and designated as lectotype. These obviously belong with other material sent to us by Dr. J. van der Vecht, Rijksmuseum, Leiden, from Surinam. They are characterized by the narrow fossulae on flagellomeres IV through VI in the male and by the mostly red petiole and trochanters in both sexes. The wing is fairly dark brown and the pleural gold pubescent markings are stronger than in Nearctic specimens. B. ichneumoneus appears to be quite variable over its range. Breadth of the fossulae of the male flagellum, color of the petiole, extent of red markings on the legs, and degree of infumation of the wings are the most obvious variables. Material from the Nearctic region normally has the petiole black and the fossulae broad. The wings tend to be much clearer in western than in eastern specimens, as discussed under distribution. Various combinations of wing color, petiole color, and breadth of fossulae occur in Central and South America. Since male genitalia seem to be alike and no other constant structural differences have been noted, we are inclined to view the polymorphism as an intergrading and sometimes local phenomenon not lending itself to separation into subspecies without much more study.
Biology.—The gregarious nature of this species is well known. Fernald (1945) cited one colony that remained in a single location for at least twenty-five years. We observed a colony of at least one hundred individuals nesting in the hard sandy soil of a gentle slope in the San Rafael Mts. of Santa Barbara Co., California. Menke noted a colony nesting in the sandy soil of a meadow at 3,800 feet elevation in Tuolumne Co., California. Prey consisted of female Conocephalus fasciatus (Be Geer). Prey records from east of the 100th meridian are (Rau and Rau, 1918): Conoccphalus attenuatus (Scudder), C. triops (Linnaeus), Orchelimum vulgare Harris, O. calcaratum Rehn and Hebard, O. delicatum Bruner, O. gracile (Harris), and the decticine ..Atlanticus dorsalis (Burmeister). Fernald (1945) cited Neoconocephalus ensiger (Harris) as prey in Florida. Abbott (1931) and Frisch (1937) gave detailed accounts of the biology of this wasp. The burrow ends in a pocket from which radiate two to six short tunnels ending in single cells. Two to six katydids are placed in each cell.

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FamilyScientific name @ source (records)
Asteraceae  Heterotheca subaxillaris @ I_JSA (1)

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Updated: 2024-04-22 16:00:53 gmt
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