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Sphecid wasp (female)

Prionyx atratus


About 20-22 millimeters in body length, all black with golden scales on face and violet reflections on wings. Compact and stout in body.


This female wasp had paralyzed a large grasshopper nymph and was opening a burrow in which it eventually placed the prey (see second image). This happened on a trail with deep, sandy soil. Surrounding habitat is degraded shortgrass prairie with sunflower, yucca, prickly-pear cacti, and scattered elm trees.


The reference link includes a video of another specimen in action.

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Spotted by

Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

Spotted on Jul 16, 2013
Submitted on Jan 11, 2014

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