Mutillidae - undet. sp.
Undet. genus and sp.
Size: Partial specimen; approximately 9 mm total length
Group Guild Status
Incidental N/A Rare
This record is from a single dead female that was found in the very top of the Tarantula Room. Access to the cave here is apparently very limited and only a very few, small invertebrates seem to manage to get into the cave in this area. The high humidity at this location reinforces that there is only a very small opening to the surface. This is also the location where the first live thread-legged bug (Phasmatocoris labyrinthicus) was observed in the cave on August 14, 2010. At this same location and time we also sampled a small, blue, dead pompilid wasp (Agenioideus biedermani). Because both of these animals were on the floor directly below where the thread-legged bug was found, we suggest there is some potential that both animals were taken as prey by this predator.
Most mutillid wasps are external parasites of the larvae and pupae of ground-nesting bees and wasps. During their hunting activities the females commonly enter all sorts of holes in the ground while searching for prey on which to lay their eggs. Because of this behavior, it is not unusual that they will occasionally enter caves present in their habitat. Since none of the invertebrates recorded from the cave are likely to be suitable prey for this wasp, we consider it an incidental occurrence in the cave. The specimen is missing several parts, including the head and most of its legs, and while it is almost certainly a mutillid, it could also belong in the related family Bradynobaenidae. The body structures diagnostic for separation of these two families are not present among the pieces of the specimen retrieved.
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