Sphex argentatus Fabricius, 1787

Doerfel, Thorleif H. & Ohl, Michael, 2015, A revision of the Australian digger wasps in the genus Sphex (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae), ZooKeys 521, pp. 1-104 : 14-15

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Sphex argentatus Fabricius, 1787


Taxon classification Animalia Hymenoptera Sphecidae

Sphex argentatus Fabricius, 1787

Sphex argentatus Fabricius, 1787: 274, sex not indicated (as argentata , incorrect original termination). Lectotype: ♀, India: Coromandel (= southeastern coast): no specific locality (ZMUC), designated by van der Vecht 1961: 28. Not examined.

Sphex umbrosus Christ, 1791: 293, sex not indicated. Holotype or syntypes: origin not indicated (destroyed). Synonymized with Sphex argentatus by van der Vecht 1961: 28, and 1973: 345. Not examined.

Material examined.

[COUNTRY UNKNOWN]:[state unknown]: [no specific locality], 1♂, 01.04.1892 (ANIC). AUSTRALIA:[state unknown]: [no specific locality], 2♀ (BMNH); NSW: Sydney, 1♀ (BMNH); NT: Port Darwin, 1♀, 1♂ (BMNH); QLD: [no specific locality], 1♂, E. Saunders (BMNH); Brisbane, 1♂, 1957, F. G. T. Smith (BMNH), 1♀, 08.02.1923, A. N. Burns (ANIC); Burleigh Heads, 1♂, 10.03.1956, J. Keir (ANIC); Byfield State Forest, 1♀, 01.01.1976, G. Daniels (AMS); Cairns, 1♂, 01.04.1963, E. C. Corbet (BMNH); 8 km W of Cooktown, 1♂, 17.07.1982, N. W. Rodd (AMS); Iron Range, 1♀, 26.04.1975, M. S. Moulds (AMS); Mackay, 1♂, 01.04.1892 (ANIC); Meringa, 1♂, 19.03.1927, A. N. Burns (ANIC); Rockhampton, 3♂, 12.01.1973, M. Moulds (AMS); Westwood, 1♀, 01.03.1925, A. N. Burns (ANIC); Wondecla near Herberton, 1♂, 06.01.1990, M. S. & B. J. Moulds (AMS). INDONESIA:Papua: 30 km S Nabire, 1♀, 26.07.1998, Balke (NHMW); West Java Province: Bogor, Java, 1♀, 1931, G. L. Windred (ANIC). PAPUA NEW GUINEA:Morobe Province: Finschhafen, 1♀, Loganeg (ANIC).


Sphex argentatus is distinguished from other Australian Sphex by the combination of tubercles on the metanotum and the clypeus having no glabrous stripe.


Body black. Base of fore- and hindwing membrane darkened, forewing with fuscous spot beyond marginal cell. Wing veins brown to black. Appressed pubescence and erect setae on clypeus and frons silvery-white, no medial glabrous stripe on clypeus. Pubescence on collar and scutum silvery, on scutum slightly denser laterally than medially. Tubercles on metanotum distinct. Propodeal enclosure with thin, erect silvery setae, leaving sculpture well visible.

Female: Body length 21.6-32.4 mm. Forebasitarsal rake with 10 long spines. Free clypeal margin with two inconspicuous lobes medially, distance between them less than 1/8 length of flagellomere II. Distance between hind- ocelli 0.8 × their shortest distance to compound eyes. Scutellum flat, with shallow medial impression near posterior margin. Length of petiole 1.4 × length of flagellomere II. Tomentum sparse on metasomal tergum I, absent on tergum II.

Male: Body length 23.8-26.2 mm. Free clypeal margin truncate, slightly concave toward center, with short median lobe. Distance between hind- ocelli 1.4 × their shortest distance to compound eyes. Scutellum convex, with shallow medial impression. Length of petiole 1.65 × length of flagellomere II. Tomentum moderately dense on metasomal tergum I and II. Metasomal tergum V with only a few, tergum VI with considerable number of black setae. Metasomal sternum VII with large fringe of dark setae laterally, sterna anterior of it each with a lesser amount of setae. Metasomal sternum VIII entire, its lateral margin straight.

Notes on type material.

The types of Sphex argentatus and its synonyms were not examined, because of the character combination in the redescription of the species by Kohl (1890) (as Sphex umbrosus , synonymized with Sphex argentatus by van der Vecht (1961, 1973): black body, bituberculate metanotum, uniformly silvery pubescence on face, sculpture on propodeal dorsum visible through moderately dense pubescence) is sufficient to unambiguously identify this species.