Common Name: The Great Black Wasp
Scientific Name: Sphex pensylvanicus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Sphecidae
Genus: Sphex
Species: S. Pensylvanicus



Did you know that not all wasps are yellow and black?  One example is the Great Black Wasp, or Sphex Pensylvanicus.  The Great Black Wasp is a large, solitary, non-aggressive black wasp that can vary from 19mm to 35mm.  This wasp lives in most of North America, and can be found in parts of Northern Mexico.  The purpose of this essay is to familiarize you with the Great Black Wasp.

The Great Black Wasp has some unique characteristics.  The male black wasp can range from 19-28mm long, and the females are usually larger, ranging from 25-35mm long.  The Great Black Wasp gets its name from its all-black body and blue, smoky-colored wings.  One of its special adaptations is that it lives in burrows under the ground, unlike other wasps that live in hives.  This description is one way to familiarize you with the Great Black Wasp.

I'd now like to tell you about where the Great Black Wasp lives.  As noted above, these wasps live in deep burrows under the ground.  Within the burrow, the Great Black Wasp digs many chambers. The chambers are where the wasp places its eggs.  In each chamber the mother places one egg and an insect that the mother has paralyzed.  When the egg hatches, the larva feeds on it for the first stages of its life.  The population of this species is stable and it is not currently endangered or conserved.  This provides you with further information about the Great Black Wasp.

Moving on, I’d like to describe the wasp’s diet, feeding habits, and predators.  They eat mainly nectar, sap, and even other insects. The Great Black Wasp also preys on the katydid as a food source for its larvae, as noted above.  Birds often prey on the wasps in order to steal the prey that they have collected for the chambers of their burrows.  Like other wasps, the Great Black Wasp has a painful sting in order to protect itself.  By now you have become much more familiar with the Great Black Wasp.

In conclusion, I hope I have been able to familiarize you with the Great Black Wasp.  One of the most unique and interesting things about this wasp is that it makes its home underground.  The Great Black Wasp is definitely an interesting creature! 

Author: Tucker L.

Date Published: 2/2012


Internet Sources: http//


Book Source: National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders


Picture Sources: Ellen Michaels