Poecilopompilus Spider Wasps

Black and rust-colored wasp on a plant
Scientific Name
Poecilopompilus algidus and P. interruptus
Pompilidae (spider wasps) in order Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps)

Spider wasps in genus Poecilopompilus provision their nests with orbweaver spiders, while most other spider wasps tend to hunt for jumping spiders, wolf spiders, or crab spiders. Like other spider wasps, females are solitary and dig nest burrows in the ground. This species prefers sandy or other workable substrates. It is usually seen in open areas, often as it visits flowers.

There are no common names for these spider wasps.

Two species may occur  in Missouri: P. algidus and P. interruptus. Both are widespread in North America and may occur in Missouri.

Across the continent, the species in this genus show great variation in their colors and markings. Some are banded with yellow and orange, while others are mostly black with a patch of orange on the side of the abdomen.

Entomologists identify these wasps by noting characters of wing venation, mouthparts, eye shape, foot and leg spines, and other details. The rest of us must compare pictures, note overall body shape and color patterns, and other clues like habitat, behavior, and food choices.

Learn more about this and other spider wasps on their group page.

The color forms of Poecilopompilus spider wasps vary by region, and biologists have noticed that the prevalent color pattern in any particular region tends to match that of other stinging wasps that are most common and widespread in the same region. When more than one venomous or toxic animal develops the same warning coloration, it's called Müllerian mimicry.
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About Land Invertebrates in Missouri
Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species.