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Species guide - species detail

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Auplopus sp. (Spider wasps)



Auplopus is a widely distributed genus of spider wasps found all over the world, except for Antarctica. These wasps belong to the subfamily Pepsinae of the spider wasp family Pompilidae. Auplopus wasps have a unique hunting behavior where they remove the legs of their spider prey before carrying it back to their nest. There are currently 10 recognized species of Auplopus in North America. However, the entire genus as a whole needs a complete revision. There is a lack of information concerning this genus, therefore we were not able to identify the specimens collected to species.


Auplopus species are small Pompilids, usually only averaging about 10mm. They come in a wide range of colors including black, orange, and metallic blue or green. Auplopus do not have a crease on the side of the first tergite. They have a smooth pygidial area and two sets of strong bristles on the underside of the head, both of which are features that help them as mud daubers. A notable feature of Auplopus is the presence of very long, upright hairs on the propodeum. The hind tarsal claws of Auplopus wasps are bent into right angles.

Nest Structure

Auplopus wasps typically build their nests inside existing holes in wood or in protected spots like under tree bark, in rock crevices, or even within abandoned nests of other wasp species. Auplopus wasps then use a pygidial plate to smooth mud pellets over the opening of their nest holes. Each female of this species provisions their nest with a single paralyzed and killed spider.

Hole Sizes

No information at this time.


Many of the common species in Minnesota appear to be multivoltine.

Activity Period

Auplopus wasps are active in Minnesota in early May and can be found as late as October depending on the temperature.


O'Brien, M.F., and Kurczewski, F.E. 1992. Auplopus carbonarius, a Palearctic spider wasp, extends its range to Michigan (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae). Great Lakes Entomologist 24: 185-186. Townes, H.K. 1957. Nearctic wasps of the subfamilies Pepsinae and Ceropalinae. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 209: 1-286.

Minnesota Record Map

These data are from the Minnesota Bee Atlas project.

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