Natural History Photographs

Pompilidae, or Spider wasps, are mostly parasitoids of spiders. Females sting host spiders, which paralyzes but not kills them. The paralyzed spider is concealed in a burrow after which the female will lay an egg on the spider. The larva feeds on the spider which is eventually killed by the full-grown larva.

Some Pompilidae do not hunt for their own prey, but lay an egg on the prey of other Pompilid species. These wasps use one of two strategies. Species of the genus Evagetes localize the nest of the host Spider wasp, eat the egg of the host and then lay their own egg on the spider in the burrow. The alternative strategy is to lay an egg on the prey paralyzed by the host during an inattentive moment. This strategy is used e.g. Ceropales species. The egg of the kleptoparasite hatches before the egg of the host spider, which is then eaten by the kleptoparasite. The kleptoparasite further develops by consuming the spider. Both Evagetes and Ceropales are rather unspecific in their choice of Pompilid hosts. Ceropales is also recorded to parasitize Crabronic wasps that provide their offspring with spiders.
Ceropales maculata
Authority:(Fabricius, 1775)
Deutsch:Gefleckte Schmarotzerwegwespe
Drents-Friese woud, the Netherlands; 30 July - 1 August 2010.

Kleptoparasite of...
Episyron rufipes
Authority:(Linnaeus, 1758)
Deutsch:Vierdornige Silberschuppenwegwespe
Blaricum, the Netherlands; 18 May 2007.
Evagetes spec.
Amsterdamse waterleidingduinen, the Netherlands; 6 August 2010.

Kleptoparasite of...
Anoplius viaticus
Authority:(Linnaeus, 1758)
Amsterdamse waterleidingduinen, the Netherlands; 10 April 2011 & 5 June 2013.