Velvet Photomorphs

The velvet ants of the family Mutillidae are a diverse but relatively little-studied group of insects. As well as their often retiring habits, studies of this family are hindered by the difficulty of associating sexes. Females are wingless and superficially resemble hairy ants. Males are usually winged and resemble more typical wasps (there is a… Continue reading Velvet Photomorphs

The Hairy Digger Wasps of Hong Kong

Taylor, C., & C. Barthélémy. 2021. A review of the digger wasps (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Scoliidae) of Hong Kong, with description of one new species and a key to known species. European Journal of Taxonomy 786: 1–92. On Christmas Eve, I received an e-mail from Christophe Barthélémy in Hong Kong to tell me that we’d gotten… Continue reading The Hairy Digger Wasps of Hong Kong

Pompilus: Spider Wasps of the Dunes

I’ve commented before on the difficulties that can be attendent on identifying spider wasps (Pompilidae), one of those groups that combine a high species diversity with a tendency to be morphologically conservative. As a result, the taxonomic history of this group has been one of shifting generic concepts and ill-defined wastebaskets. Not surprisingly, one of… Continue reading Pompilus: Spider Wasps of the Dunes


Minagenia osoria, copyright Centre for Biodiversity Genomics. Belongs within: Pompiloidea. Contains: Ceropales, Ctenocerinae, Pompilinae, Leptodialepis, Calopompilus, Hemipepsis, Pepsini, Psoropempula, Ageniellini, Priocnemis, Dipogon. The Pompilidae, spider hawks, are a cosmopolitan group of wasps that develop as predators or parasites of spiders. Characters (from Shimizu 1994): Antenna usually with 13 segments in male, 12 segments in female.… Continue reading Pompilidae


Aulacus striatus, copyright Jesper Lund. Belongs within: Evanioidea. Contains: Gasteruption. The Aulaciformes are a clade of parasitoid or larval predatory wasps characterised by the absence of the jugal lobe in the hind wing, fusion of the first and second metasomal terga, sexually dimorphic antennal segmentation, and elongate propleuron, and rigid attachment of the pronotum and… Continue reading Aulaciformes


Probolomyrmex filiformis, copyright April Nobile. Belongs within: Formicidae. The Proceratiinae are a group of small ants characterised by fully or nearly fully exposed antennal sockets close to the anterior margin of the head, together with a single petiolar segment and a fused promesonotal suture (Heterick 2009). <==Proceratiinae |–Probolomyrmex Mayr 1901 TB85 [Probolomyrmecini H09] |    |  i. s.:… Continue reading Proceratiinae


Ponera pennsylvanica, copyright Tom Murray. Belongs within: Ponerinae. Ponera is a genus of generalised ponerine ants characterised by triangular mandibles, a single large pectinate spur on the hind tarsus, and a subpetiolar process bearing a distinct fenestra anteriorly. <==Ponera Latreille 1804 [incl. Pseudocryptopone Emery 1900, Pteroponera Bernard 1950, Selenopone Wheeler 1933] Z01 |–P. coarctata (Latreille… Continue reading Ponera


Odontomachus monticola, copyright Johnsonwang6688. Belongs within: Ponerinae. Odontomachus is a pantropical genus of ants characterised by long and straight mandibles inserted just on either side of the cephalic midline with three large teeth near the tip arranged in a vertical series, together with a single tooth or spine at the apex of the petiole, and… Continue reading Odontomachus


Anochetus armstrongi with termite, copyright Mark Newton. Belongs within: Ponerinae. Anochetus is a pantropical genus of ponerine ants characterised by long, straight mandibles inserted near the cephalic midline with two or three large teeth near the tip arranged in a vertical series, together with two teeth or a rounded margin at the apex of the… Continue reading Anochetus


Hypoponera eduardi, copyright April Nobile. Belongs within: Ponerinae. Hypoponera is a cosmopolitan genus of fairly generalised soil-dwelling ants. Characters (from Heterick 2009): Mandibles triangular; palpal formula 2, 2; clypeus narrowly inserted between frontal lobes; tibia of hind leg with single large pectinate spur; pretarsal claws of hind leg simple; anteroventral process of petiole simple. <==Hypoponera… Continue reading Hypoponera