Wild Florida Photo - Sphecius speciosus

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Sphecius speciosus


Florida native


Eastern cicada killers are large wasps that resemble hornets, sometimes locally common in Florida. The range includes the United States east of the Rockies, plus Ontario to the north and south into Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
They are 25 - 50 mm (1 - 2 in.) long with distinctive black and yellow abdominal markings.
These members of the digger-wasp family spend most of their life cycle underground in burrows. The adults begin digging soon after the cicadas start singing. They only live above ground for two to six weeks, after which that year's adults die off. The females are typically larger than the males. They dig the burrows and bring dead cicadas to seal in a nest chamber with each egg. This provides food for the larvae after the egg hatches.
The Caribbean cicada killer - S. hogardii can also be found in Florida and the Caribbean islands. They have red bodies with black-tipped abdomens. There are two species found west of the 94th meridian (about the middle of the continental US) - S. grandis, western cicada killer and S. convallis, Pacific cicada killer. S. spectabilis is the only member of the genus known in South America.

Sphecius speciosus is a member of the Sphecidae - Digger wasps family.

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For more information on this species, visit the following link:
Lafayette College Professor Chuck Holliday's Cicada Killer Page

Date record last modified:
Sep 05, 2009

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