European beewolf Philanthus triangulum, copyright Alvesgaspar.

Belongs within: Philanthidae.

Published 18 December 2023

The subject of the image above (from is Philanthus hellmanni, a species of the widespread apoid wasp genus Philanthus found in northeastern Asia. Records of this species exist from eastern Russia, Mongolia and northern China (Bohart & Menke 1976). Philanthus species are colourful wasps (historically included in the family Crabronidae but more recently treated within Philanthidae) whose generic name translates as “lover of flowers”. They may be recognised by the notched inner margins on the eyes, and hind wings with a large jugal lobe occupying over half of the anal area. Philanthus hellmanni is characterised by a yellow clypeus with the remainder of the face black, and black metasomal terga with yellowish bands (Dollfus 2017). The red basal segment on the metasoma of the individual in the photo identifies it as the subspecies P. hellmanni sibiricus (Radoszkowski 1888). However, I suspect the relationship between these forms warrants re-examination.

I have not found any specific discussion of the biology of P. hellmanni since it was first described in 1849, but the life history of several other Philanthus species is well known (Bohart & Menke 1976). Like many other apoid wasps, Philanthus species nest in holes in the ground which they provision with paralysed insects. The favoured prey of Philanthus species are bees, leading to members of the genus acquiring the vernacular name of “beewolf”. Nests typically branch into multiple cells with individual cells stocked with several bees. Beewolves do not appear to be choosy about exactly which bees they attack; nests of a single Philanthus species may contain a variety of bee species, and they may occasionally attack other wasps as well. In some species, females have also been found constructing one or more accessory burrows alongside their nest that they never provision or close up. These extra burrows may function as decoys, leading parasites to waste time investigating dead ends and missing the sealed genuine nest nearby.

Systematics of Philanthini
|--Trachypus Klug 1810 [incl. Philanthocephalus Cameron 1890, Simblephilus Dahlbom 1844 non Jurine 1807]BM76
| |--T. elongatus (Fabricius 1804) (see below for synonymy)BM76
| |--T. annulatus Spinola 1851 [incl. T. furcatus Brèthes 1910]BM76
| |--T. basalis Smith 1873BM76
| |--T. batrachostomus Schrottky 1909BM76
| |--T. caenosus Rubio-Espina 1975D17
| |--T. cementarius (Smith 1860) [=Philanthus cementarius]BM76
| |--T. denticollis Spinola 1851 (see below for synonymy)BM76
| |--T. disjunctus Smith 1873BM76
| |--T. flavidus (Taschenberg 1875) [=Philanthus flavidus; incl. T. coriani Schrottky 1909]BM76
| |--T. fulvipennis (Taschenberg 1875) [=Philanthus fulvipennis; incl. T. brevipetiolatus Schrottky 1909]BM76
| |--T. gerstaeckeri Dewitz 1881BM76
| |--T. gracilis (Cameron 1890) [=*Philanthocephalus gracilis; incl. P. maculiceps Cameron 1890]BM76
| |--T. hirticeps (Cameron 1890) [=Philanthocephalus hirticeps]BM76
| |--T. mexicanus Saussure 1867 (see below for synonymy)BM76
| |--T. miles Schrottky 1909BM76
| |--T. minutus Rubio-Espina 1975D17
| |--T. patagonensis (de Saussure 1854)D17 (see below for synonymy)
| |--T. petiolatus (Spinola 1842)D17 (see below for synonymy)
| |--T. romandi (Saussure 1854) [=Philanthus romandi]BM76
| |--T. spegazzinii Brèthes 1910 [incl. T. punctuosus Brèthes 1910]BM76
| `--T. varius (Taschenberg 1875) [=Philanthus varius]BM76
|--Philanthinus de Beaumont 1949D17 [incl. Shestakoviella Gussakovskij 1952BM76; Philanthinina]
| |--*P. integer (de Beaumont 1949)BM76, D17 [=Philanthus integerBM76]
| |--P. albiceps (Gussakovskij 1952) [=Shestakoviella albiceps]BM76
| |--P. quatuordecimpunctatus (Morawitz 1888)D17 (see below for synonymy)
| `--P. theodori (Bytinski-Salz 1959) [=Philanthus theodori]BM76
`--Philanthus Fabricius 1790 (see below for synonymy)BM76
|--*P. coronatus (Thunberg 1784) (see below for synonymy)BM76
| |--P. c. coronatusBM76
| |--P. c. ibericus Beaumont 1970 [incl. P. occidentalis Beaumont 1951 non Strandtmann 1946]BM76
| `--P. c. orientalis Bytinski-Salz 1959BM76
|--P. adamsoni Arnold 1952BM76
|--P. albopictus Taschenberg 1880BM76
|--P. albopilosus Cresson 1865 [incl. P. simillimus Cresson 1865]BM76
|--P. amabilis Arnold 1946BM76
|--P. ammochrysus Schulz 1905 [incl. P. krugeri Schulthess 1926]BM76
| |--P. a. ammochrysusBM76
| `--P. a. psammophilus Bytinski-Salz 1959BM76
|--P. angustifrons Kohl 1891BM76
|--P. annulatus Theobald 1937BM76
|--P. arizonicus Bohart 1972BM76
|--P. arnoldi Berland 1936BM76
|--P. asmarensis Giordani Soika 1939BM76
|--P. avidus Bingham 1896BM76
|--P. banabacoa Alayo Dalman 1968D17
|--P. barbatus Smith 1856 [incl. P. albifrons Cresson 1865, P. henricus Dunning 1898]BM76
|--P. barbiger Mickel 1916BM76
|--P. basalis Smith 1856BM76
| |--P. b. basalisBM76
| `--P. b. clypeatus Tsuneki 1963BM76
|--P. basilewskyi Leclercq 1955BM76
|--P. bicinctus (Mickel 1916) [=Ococletes bicinctus; incl. O. hirticulus Mickel 1918]BM76
|--P. bilineatus Gravenhorst 1807BM76
|--P. bilunatus Cresson 1865 (see below for synonymy)BM76
|--P. bimaculus Saussure 1891 [incl. P. immitis Saussure 1892]BM76
|--P. bredoi Arnold 1946BM76
|--P. bucephalus Smith 1856 [incl. P. spilaspis Cameron 1910]BM76
| |--P. b. bucephalusBM76
| `--P. b. rotundicollis Arnold 1924BM76
|--P. camerunensis Tullgren 1904BM76
|--P. capensis Dahlbom 1845BM76
| |--P. c. capensisBM76
| `--P. c. nordicus Leclercq 1962BM76
|--P. coarctatus Spinola 1839D17 [incl. P. niloticus Smith 1873BM76]
|--P. crabroniformis Smith 1856 (see below for synonymy)BM76
|--P. crotoniphilus Viereck & Cockerell 1904BM76
|--P. curvimaculatus (Cameron 1910) [=Trachypus curvimaculatus]BM76
|--P. decemmaculatus Eversmann 1849BM76
|--P. dentatus Cameron 1902BM76
|--P. depredator Smith 1856BM76
|--P. desertorum Morawitz 1890BM76
|--P. dichrous Kohl 1894BM76
| |--P. d. dichrousBM76
| |--P. d. abyssinicus Arnold 1925BM76
| `--P. d. dolosus Kohl 1894BM76
|--P. dimidiatus Klug 1845BM76
|--P. dufourii Lucas 1849D17 [incl. P. bolivari Mercert 1914BM76]
|--P. elegantissimus Dalla Torre 197 [incl. P. elegans Smith 1873 non Smith 1856]BM76
|--P. femoralis Arnold 1946BM76
|--P. flagellarius Turner 1918BM76
|--P. flavipes Arnold 1949 non Crabro flavipes Fabricius 1781 (not preoc. if in dif. gen.)BM76
|--P. fossulatus Turner 1918BM76
|--P. foveatus Arnold 1933BM76
|--P. fuscipennis Guérin-Méneville 1844 (see below for synonymy)BM76
| |--P. f. fuscipennisBM76
| |--P. f. consimilis Kohl 1891 [incl. P. reticulatus Cameron 1908]BM76
| `--P. f. ‘laetus’ Gribodo 1895 non Fabricius 1793BM76
|--P. genalis Kohl 1891BM76
|--P. gibbosus (Fabricius 1775) (see below for synonymy)BM76
|--P. glaber Kohl 1891BM76
|--P. gloriosus Cresson 1865 [incl. P. insignatus Banks 1913]BM76
|--P. gwaaiensis Arnold 1929BM76
|--P. hellmanni (Eversmann 1849) [=Anthophilus hellmanni]BM76
| |--P. h. hellmanniBM76
| `--P. h. sibiricus Radoszkowski 1888BM76
|--P. histrio Fabricius 1804 (see below for synonymy)BM76
| |--P. h. histrioBM76
| |--P. h. distinctus Arnold 1951BM76
| `--P. h. eritreanus Bischoff 1915BM76
|--P. impatiens Kohl 1891BM76
|--P. inversus Patton 1879BM76
|--P. kaszabi Tsuneki 1971BM76
|--P. kizilkumii Radoszkowski 1877BM76
|--P. kohlii Morawitz 1890BM76
|--P. kokandicus Radoszkowski 1877BM76
|--P. komarowi Morawitz 1890BM76
|--P. laticeps Arnold 1925BM76
|--P. lepidus Cresson 1865 [incl. P. carolinensis Banks 1913, P. reductus Banks 1921]BM76
|--P. levini Bohart 1972BM76
|--P. limatus Bingham 1909 [incl. P. ruandanus Bischoff 1915]BM76
|--P. lingyuanensis Yasumatsu 1935BM76
|--P. loeflingi Dahlbom 1845 [incl. P. innominatus Bingham 1902]BM76
| |--P. l. loeflingiBM76
| `--P. l. meneliki Arnold 1925BM76
|--P. madagascarensis Brèthes 1910 (see below for synonymy)BM76
|--P. major Kohl 1891BM76
|--P. melanderi Arnold 1925BM76
|--P. michelbacheri Bohart 1972BM76
|--P. minor Kohl 1891BM76
|--P. mongolicus Morawitz 1889BM76
|--P. multimaculatus Cameron 1891 (see below for synonymy)BM76
|--P. namaqua Arnold 1925BM76
|--P. nasalis Bohart 1972BM76
|--P. natalensis Arnold 1925BM76
|--P. neomexicanus Strandtmann 1946BM76
|--P. nepalensis Bingham 1908BM76
|--P. nigriceps Bingham 1896BM76
|--P. nigritus Gravenhorst 1807BM76
|--P. nigrohirtus Turner 1918BM76
| |--P. n. nigrohirtusBM76
| `--P. n. calvus Turner 1918BM76
|--P. nitidus Magretti 1884BM76
|--P. nobilis Kohl 1891BM76
|--P. notatulus Smith 1862BM76
| |--P. n. notatulusBM76
| |--P. n. concinnus Bingham 1896 [incl. P. angustatus Turner 1919]BM76
| |--P. n. formosanus Tsuneki 1973BM76
| |--P. n. javanus van der Vecht 1966BM76
| `--P. n. wegneri van der Vecht 1966BM76
|--P. nursei (Bingham 1898) [=Trachypus nursei]BM76
|--P. occidentalis Strandtmann 1946BM76
|--P. oraniensis Arnold 1925BM76
|--P. ordinarius Bingham 1896BM76
|--P. pacificus Cresson 1880D17
| |--P. p. pacificusBM76
| `--P. p. arizonae Dunning 1898 [incl. P. assimilis Banks 1913, P. hirticeps Cameron 1905]BM76
|--P. pallidus Klug 1845BM76
|--P. pilifrons Cameron 1902D17 [incl. P. ugandicus Magretti 1908BM76]
| |--P. p. pillifronsBM76
| `--P. p. xanthogaster Cameron 1908BM76
|--P. politus Say 1824 [=*Anthophilus politus; incl. P. dubius Cresson 1865, P. texanus Banks 1913]BM76
|--P. promontorii Arnold 1925BM76
|--P. psyche Dunning 1896 [incl. P. hermosus Banks 1913, P. punctinudus Viereck & Cockerell 1904]BM76
|--P. pulchellus Spinola 1843D17 [incl. P. andalusiacus Kohl 1888BM76, P. sieboldii Dahlbom 1845BM76]
|--P. pulcher Dalla Torre 1897 [incl. P. clarconis Viereck 1906, P. pulchellus Cresson 1865 non Spinola 1842]BM76
|--P. pulcherrimus Smith 1856BM76
|--P. punjabensis Nurse 1902BM76
|--P. radamae Arnold 1945BM76
|--P. ramakrishnae Turner 1918BM76
|--P. raptor Lepeletier 1845 [incl. P. marocanus Shestakov in Nadig 1933]BM76
| |--P. r. raptorBM76
| `--P. r. siculus Giordani Soika 1944BM76
|--P. reinigi Bischoff 1930D17
|--P. ‘rubidus’ Arnold 1946 non Jurine 1807 [incl. P. abyssinicus Arnold 1932 non Arnold 1925]BM76
|--P. rubriventris Kazenas 1970BM76
|--P. rugosifrons Arnold 1949BM76
|--P. rugosus Kohl 1891BM76
|--P. rutilus Spinola 1839D17
| |--P. r. rutilusBM76
| `--P. r. pachecoi Giner Marí 1945BM76
|--P. sanbornii Cresson 1865 (see below for synonymy)BM76
|--P. saxigenus Rohwer 1909BM76
|--P. schulthessi Maidl 1924BM76
| |--P. s. schulthessiBM76
| `--P. s. nigrinus Bytinski-Salz 1959BM76
|--P. schusteri Bohart 1972BM76
|--P. scrutator Nurse 1902BM76
|--P. serrulatae Dunning 1898BM76
|--P. sicarius Smith 1856BM76
|--P. siouxensis Mickel 1916BM76
|--P. soikai Beaumont 1961BM76
|--P. solivagus Say 1837 [=*Epiphilanthus solivagus, P. solidagus (l. c.)]BM76
|--P. sparsipunctatus Arnold 1946BM76
|--P. spiniger Thunberg 1815BM76
|--P. stecki Schulz 1906BM76
|--P. strigulosus Turner 1918BM76
|--P. stygius Gerstaecker 1858D17
| |--P. s. stygiusBM76
| `--P. s. atronitens Arnold 1925BM76
|--P. subconcolor (Bingham 1898) [=Tachypus subconcolor]BM76
|--P. sulphureus Smith 1856BM76
|--P. sumptuosus Turner 1917BM76
|--P. taantes Gribodo 1895BM76
|--P. tarsatus Smith 1908BM76
|--P. tenellus Arnold 1925BM76
|--P. triangulum (Fabricius 1775)BM76 (see below for synonymy)
| |--P. t. triangulumBM76
| |--P. t. abdelcader Lepeletier 1845 [=P. abdelkader Lucas 1880]BM76
| |--P. t. bimaculatus Magretti 1908BM76
| |--P. t. diadema (Fabricius 1781) (see below for synonymy)BM76
| `--P. t. obliteratus Pic 1917BM76
|--P. ‘tricinctus’ Gimmerthal 1836 nec Spinola 1805 nec Thunberg 1815BM76
|--P. tricolor Fairmaire 1858BM76
|--P. turneri Arnold 1925BM76
|--P. variegatus Spinola 1839D17 (see below for synonymy)
| |--P. v. variegatusBM76
| |--P. v. ecoronatus Dufour 1853 [incl. P. septralis Radoszkowski 1888]BM76
| `--P. v. nabateus Bytinski-Salz 1959BM76
|--P. variolosus Arnold 1932BM76
|--P. ventilabris Fabricius 1798 (see below for synonymy)BM76
|--P. ventralis (Mickel 1918) [=Ococletes ventralis, P. strandtmanni Burks 1951]BM76
|--P. venustus (Rossi 1790) [=Crabro venustus; incl. P. melliniformis Smith 1856]BM76
|--P. walteri Kohl 1891BM76
|--P. werneri Maidl 1933BM76
|--P. yerburyi Bingham 1898BM76
`--P. zebratus Cresson 1880D17 (see below for synonymy)

Philanthinus quatuordecimpunctatus (Morawitz 1888)D17 [=Anthophilus quattuordecimpunctatusBM76; incl. Anthophilus elegans Morawitz 1888 non Philanthus elegans Smith 1856BM76, Philanthus eximius Morawitz 1894BM76, *Shestakoviella eximiaBM76]

Philanthus Fabricius 1790 [=Philianthus (l. c.); incl. Anthophilus Dahlbom 1844, Cheilopogonus Westwood 1834, Chilopogon Kohl 1896, Epiphilanthus Ashmead 1899, Oclocletes Banks 1913, Ococletes Mickel 1916, Pseudanthophilus Ashmead 1899, Simblephilus Jurine 1807, Symblephilus Panzer 1806]BM76

Philanthus bilunatus Cresson 1865 [incl. P. assimilis Banks 1915 non Banks 1913, P. consimilis Banks 1923 non Kohl 1891, P. scelestus Cresson 1879]BM76

*Philanthus coronatus (Thunberg 1784) [=Sphex coronatus; incl. P. coronatus Fabricius 1790 non Sphex coronatus Thunberg 1784]BM76

Philanthus crabroniformis Smith 1856 [incl. P. californicus Cresson 1879, P. flavifrons Cresson 1865, Liris magnifica Provancher 1895 non L. haemorrhoidalis magnifica Kohl 1884, P. sublimis Cresson 1879]BM76

Philanthus fuscipennis Guérin-Méneville 1844 [incl. P. temerarius Kohl 1894, P. undussumae Stadelmann 1897, P. usambarensis Stadelmann 1897]BM76

Philanthus gibbosus (Fabricius 1775) [=Vespa gibbosa, P. nodosus (l. c.); incl. P. chilopsidis Cockerell 1898, P. cockerelli Dunning 1897, Anthophilus gibbosus Dahlbom 1844 non Vespa gibbosa Fabricius 1775, P. maculifrons Cameron 1891, A. maculiventris Cameron 1905, A. melanaspis Cameron 1905, Philanthus punctatus Say 1824, *Cheilopogonus punctiger Westwood 1834, P. xanthostigma Cameron 1891]BM76

Philanthus histrio Fabricius 1804 [incl. P. flavolineatus Cameron 1908, P. formosus Smith 1856, P. schoenherri Dahlbom 1845, P. trichiocephalus Cameron 1910]BM76

Philanthus madagascarensis Brèthes 1910 [=P. petiolatus Saussure 1892 non Spinola 1841; incl. P. ranavalonae Arnold 1945]BM76

Philanthus multimaculatus Cameron 1891 [=P. multiannulatus (l. c.); incl. P. anna Dunning 1897, P. annae Dunning 1898, P. cleomae Dunning 1898, P. subversus Banks 1915, P. yakima Banks 1919]BM76

Philanthus sanbornii Cresson 1865 [=*Oclocletes sanbornii; incl. P. eurynome Fox 1890, P. magdalenae Viereck in Strandtmann 1946, P. scutellaris Cresson 1879, P. trumani Dunning 1897]BM76

Philanthus triangulum (Fabricius 1775)BM76 [=Vespa triangulumBM76, *Simblephilus triangulumBM76; incl. Crabro androgynus Rossi 1792BM76, Philanthus allionii Dahlbom 1845BM76, Ph. allwini (l. c.)BM76, Ph. apivorus Latreille 1802BM76, Ph. discolor Panzer 1799BM76, Vespa fasciata Fourcroy 1785BM76, Polistes fasciatusL02, V. limbata Olivier 1792BM76, Sphex maculatus Christ 1791 nec Evania maculata Fabricius 1775 nec S. maculatus Fabricius 1787BM76, Philanthus pictus Panzer 1797BM76, *Symblephilus pictusBM76]

Philanthus triangulum diadema (Fabricius 1781) [=Crabro diadema; incl. P. frontalis Gerstaecker 1857, P. transversus Cameron 1910]BM76

Philanthus variegatus Spinola 1839D17 [incl. P. distinguendus Kohl 1891BM76, P. osbecki Dahlbom 1845BM76, P. palestinensis Balthasar 1953BM76]

Philanthus ventilabris Fabricius 1798 [=*Pseudanthophilus ventilabris, Ph. ventralis (l. c.) non Ococletes ventralis Mickel 1918, Ph. vertilabris (l. c.); incl. Ph. completus Banks 1915, Ph. frontalis Cresson 1865 non Gerstaecker 1857, Liris rugosa Provancher 1895 non Kohl 1891]BM76

Philanthus zebratus Cresson 1880D17 [incl. P. basilaris Cresson 1879BM76, Ococletes illustris Mickel 1918BM76, O. nitens Banks 1913BM76]

Trachypus denticollis Spinola 1851 [=Philanthus denticollis, T. chilensis Spin. in Brèthes 1910; incl. T. rufipes Reed 1894, T. incertus Spinola 1851]BM76

Trachypus elongatus (Fabricius 1804) [=Zethus elongatus; incl. Philanthus apicalis Smith 1856, P. asuncionis Strand 1910, *Trachypus gomesii Klug 1810, P. gomezi Strand 1910, T. surinamensis Saussure 1867, P. terminalis Taschenberg 1875]BM76

Trachypus mexicanus Saussure 1867 [incl. T. annulitarsis Cameron 1908, Philanthocephalus mexicanus Cameron 1890 non T. mexicanus Saussure 1867]BM76

Trachypus patagonensis (de Saussure 1854)D17 [=Philanthus patagonensisBM76; incl. P. egregius Taschenberg 1875BM76, Trachypus magnificus Schrottky 1909BM76, T. martialis Holmberg 1903BM76]

Trachypus petiolatus (Spinola 1842)D17 [=Philanthus petiolatusBM76, *Simblephilus petiolatusBM76; incl. Philanthus elegans Smith 1856BM76, Philanthus elegans Taschenberg 1875 nec Smith 1856 nec Smith 1873BM76, Trachypus flavus Brèthes 1910BM76, Philanthus mendozae Dalla Torre 1897BM76, T. peruanus Giner Marí 1944BM76, Philanthocephalus punctifrons Cameron 1890BM76, T. ruficeps Brèthes 1910BM76]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BM76] Bohart, R. M., & A. S. Menke. 1976. Sphecid Wasps of the World. University of California Press: Berkeley.

[D17] Dollfuss, H. 2017. The Philanthinae wasps of the “Biologiezentrum Linz”-Collection in Linz, Austria including the genera Aphilanthops Patton, Clypeadon Patton, Odontosphex Arnold, Philanthinus de Beaumont, Philanthus Fabricius, Pseudoscolia Radoszkowski and Trachypus Klug (Hymenoptera, Apoidea, Crabronidae). Linzer biol. Beitr. 49 (2): 1245–1274.

[L02] Latreille, P. A. 1802. Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière des crustacés et des insectes vol. 3. Familles naturelles des genres. F. Dufart: Paris.

Radoszkowski, O. 1888. Etudes hyménoptèrologiques. Trudy Russkago Entomologicheskogo Obshestva [Horae Societatis Entomologicae Rossicae] 22: 315–337, pls 12–15.

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