Red Legged Spider Wasp - Episyron rufipes

Description

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
Habitat

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.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map

MAP KEY:

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

UK Map