Pompilidae (caterpillar-hunting wasps, spider-hunting wasps; suborder Apocrita, superfamily Pompiloidea) Family of large wasps (most 10–25 mm, but some up to 40 mm long) whose members provision their young with caught and paralysed spiders. They are long-legged, rarely fly, and run over the ground to catch their prey. Adults are usually dark-coloured, with dark wings which are not folded longitudinally at rest. They are distinguished from all other fossorial wasps by their well-developed hind-wing venation, and prothoracic structures. Nests are cup-shaped mud structures in crevices of rocks or trees, and some may be subterranean. The host may be left in its own burrow. Some species construct the nest first, then provision it with a paralysed spider; others catch their prey before building the nest. A few pompilid species lay their own eggs on the paralysed host of another species before it is interred in the nest. See HUNTING WASP.
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