Thread-waisted Wasp

Photo by: Bryan Reynolds

Ammophila procera

The Thread-waisted Wasp can be anywhere from 10mm long to 30mm long. They appear long and stalked, creating a “thread-waisted” look.  Their bodies have middle tibiae with two apical spurs and could be all black, black and red, yellow and black, or white and black, with markings on their abdomen. Thread-waisted Wasps are generally solitary nesters that inhabit much of the world and can build ground or aerial nests out of mud. Though they are nonsocial, some are klepto-parasitic and use prey that was caught by another wasp to provide for their own larvae.

Larvae of this species feed on the paralyzed arthropods that host this species, such as spiders, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. These hosts can be stored in the nests, ready to be eaten by the larvae. Malaxation, the crushing of the neck by the wasp’s jaws, often afflicts the host as well as a paralyzing sting. Eggs are laid on the host body. The adults feed on the nectar they get from flowers and extrafloral nectaries, honeydew, and body fluids of their prey

Written by: Christian Newkirk, an undergraduate Environmental Science student at the University of Oklahoma