Red Legged Spider Wasp - Episyron rufipes


A large, robust species with ivory spots on the gaster. Until recently this was the only member of this genus to be found in Britain, but the recent discovery of Episyron gallicum has complicated matters. Females are readily distinguished by having four comb spines of the fore tarsus (three in gallicum), but males are very similar and require critical examination.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Most solitary bees and wasps are difficult to identify, and can rarely be identified from photos taken in the field.  All red-rated records should include a photo or set of photos of the specimen, illustrating the key characters taken from a standard key, which should also be referenced (e.g. ‘Falk, 2015’).  The full set of key characters are generally not visible in field photos and photos are rarely sharp enough. To aid in the verification of your records, please include face shot, side, top and wings.  The notes should state whether male or female, and explain how the specimen met the key characters.  Although NS may not be able to identify the species even if these reference photos are provided, the photos will be stored with the record and may allow it be identified in future.   Alternatively, NS will accept records identified by a recognised local or national expert, or that have been identified via BWARS’ Facebook .  If you have obtained this advice, please note the name of the person/organisation identifying the record in the ‘determiner’ field (e.g. ‘Stuart Roberts, BWARS Facebook’) rather than just a comment of ‘BWARS Facebook’.


Coastal dunes, landslips and grasslands. Also, inland heaths, gravel pits and gardens on sandy soils.

When to see it

May to September.

Life History

This is a specialist spider hunting wasp. The nest is excavated in loose sand after the prey has been captured. The prey is stored during this process above ground in a nearby plant.

UK Status

Episyron rufipes is widespread in lowland Britain on any sandy soils. Away from the south-east heaths and coastal systems, inland records are scattered north to Humberside. In Wales, north west England and in Ireland the species is mostly confined to the coast.

VC55 Status

Rare or under recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland where there are only one or two records.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Red Legged Spider Wasp
Species group:
Bees, Wasps, Ants
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
12/08/2015 (Woodward, Steve)
Last record:
12/08/2015 (Woodward, Steve)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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