Spider-Hunting Sphecid Wasps

  • Rollin E. Coville


The Hymenoptera families Sphecidae and Pompilidae contain wasps that provision their larval cells with paralyzed spiders. The predatory habits of these two groups differ in that sphecids store several small spiders in each cell, called mass provisioning, whereas pompilids use one spider that is as large or larger than themselves. Sphecids are generally unable to pursue their small prey into confined spaces. Hence, spiders that dwell in burrows, in web tubes, and under bark or rocks may be heavily preyed upon by pompilids, but are usually spared from sphecids.


Prey Preference Hunting Behavior Trap Nest Larval Cell Nest Habit 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rollin E. Coville
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Entomology and Parasitology, 201 Wellman HallUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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