Date of this Version
Kurczewski FE, West RC, Pitts JP. 2022. First host record, nesting behavior, and taxonomic position of the spider wasp genus Hesperopompilus Evans and some other Evans genera (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae). Insecta Mundi 0960: 1–8.
First host record, prey transport, and burrow excavation are described for Hesperopompilus sp., an undescribed, rare spider wasp (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae) from Texas. Taxonomic, ecological, and behavioral examination of the genus subsequently led to an investigation of the previously related Perissopompilus Evans and Xerochares Evans. Taxonomic, host preference, nesting behavior, and phylogenomic relationships of the three taxa are discussed along with those of Xenopompilus Evans. The molecular connection of Perissopompilus and Allochares Banks is supported by their common use of host species of Filistatidae.
Evans (1951), in his taxonomic study of the spider wasp tribe Pompilini (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae: Pompilinae), described the comparatively rare subgenera Xerochares and Perissopompilus and re-described the comparatively rare genus Hesperopompilus Evans (1948), grouping these taxa adjacently in the large worldwide genus Pompilus Fabricius. Pompilus resembles Anoplius Dufour in many structural features but can be distinguished from that genus in the female by the absence of stiff bristles on the apical metasomal tergum and in the male by the toothed tarsal claws (Evans 1951, 1966a; Wasbauer and Kimsey 1985). Evans (1953, 1960, 1968) later described and added the rare subgenus Xenopompilus to this group of three subgenera, rearranging them in Pompilus in the following phylogenetic order: Hesperopompilus, Xenopompilus, Perissopompilus, and Xerochares. Krombein (1979) and Wasbauer and Kimsey (1985) reaffirmed Evans (1951, 1966a) subgeneric arrangement in Pompilus despite the attempts of European workers, notably Day (1981), to elevate the four subgenera to genus status. Evans (1990), in agreement with Krombein (1979) and Wasbauer and Kimsey (1985), referenced Pompilus silvivagus Evans. However, Evans (1997) listed the genera Hesperopompilus and Arachnophila Kincaid, including Arachnospila (Ammosphex) silvivaga (Evans), in his Spider Wasps of Colorado following Day’s (1981) narrow interpretation of Pompilus, with little explanation of their elevated generic status. Hesperopompilus, Xenopompilus, Perissopompilus, and Xerochares were classified thereafter on multiple websites (e.g., BugGuide, Flickr, iNaturalist) as genera, not subgenera. Finally, the four subgenera established by Evans (1948, 1951, 1953) were treated as separate genera by Pitts et al. (2005), Horta-Vega et al. (2009), Wasbauer and Kimsey (2010), Castro-Huertas et al. (2014), Waichert et al. (2015), Rodriguez et al. (2015), and Fernández et al. (2022) based on morphological, host preference, nesting behavior, and, especially, phylogenomic criteria.