Pemphredon lugubris♀︎♂︎

Last update: 4 March 2023


SPECIES: Pemphredon lugubris




Official name:


Pamphredon lugubris [1]

Pemphredon pacifica (Gussakovskij 1932)

Pemphredon pacificus (Gussakovskij 1932)

see more on:



Latin: mourning

Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎
Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎


1. Distribution
2. Behaviour
3. Plant relations
4. Prey relations
5. Parasitic relations
6. Identification


Pemphredon lugubris is a common wasp [2] that occurs throughout the Netherlands [3].



The species is active from the beginning of May to the beginning of November [3]. There are two generations per year [3,14], in the beginning of summer and autumn [14, 21].



The femals gnaw nests in decaying wood and use natural tubes like plantstemms or abandoned beetle tunnels [4,5,12,14]. Also wooden poles may be used [4].

Branched tunnels with a diameter of 4-5 mm are gnawed in wood [14]. The branches will include blind cells that are filled with wood pulp that may be used later on to fill up the main corridor [5].
Sometimes a gall is used in which the length of the tunnel is determined by the size of the fall [5].

The species sometimes tries to use the nest of Ectemnius cavifrons but are usually scared off. Should that not be the case she will use the main corridor as a starting point to gnaw her own branched off tunnels [3,5].

The broodcells in the plantstemms are constructed in a sequwntial row [14].
In all media wthe broodcells are separated with a 1-2mm thick wall of woodpulp [5].

Every broodcell contains 40 aphids [5,12]. When the cell is fully provisioned one egg is lain on an aphid in the middle or back of the broodcell [5].

The eggs develop in three to five days [21]. The larva develops in about two week into the pre-pupal stage [21]. The second generatin will overwinter as pre-pupa, the first generation will transform into the pupal stage shortly [21]. This phase lasts about three weeks and then the adult appears [21].


Females can be seen on bee hotels where they collect nesting materials [17].

Nestblocks in good condition are not suitable for nesting as the females only tunnel in decaying wood which is softer. Possibly offering bamboo stemms or tubes out of other plant stemms that still contain the marrow, as part of artificial nesting may increase chances for the species to use the bee hotel.

My own observations of the species include a female P. lugubris on the bee hotel section II nestblock 10 filled with bamboo and Hemp agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) stemms.

Also I’ve noticed that nest blocks that are old and deteriorating become more interesting for tunneling digger wasps. Possibly Pemphredon will start to use this wood as well [17].

I’ve not seen any males on the bee hotel. Also the literature does not mention this.


My own observations include the species mating on Common dogwood (Cornus sanguinea). The males were continuesly present in and around the plant. Every now and then a female would approach that was immediately approached after landing, see here.


Caught prey are paralized by bites in the neck region [12,16]. As far as known all members of the subfamily Pemphredoninae, almost all aphid hunters, do not use the stinger [12,16].
The poison of P. lugubris is capable in paralysing a prey incomplete permanently [16].

The prey is transported to the nest using the mandibles [4,12].



The following wood types are mentioned in literature as medium for the wasp to built her nests in:

(Moschatel family)
Sambucus (Elder) [4,20(Pemphredon ssp.)]
(Sumac family)
Rhus (Sumac) [20(Pemphredon ssp.)]
Asteraceae [5]
(Composite family)
Artemisia [4]
Hibiscus [5]
(Olive family)
Fraxinus (Ash) [20(Pemphredon ssp.)]
(Rose family)
Rosa (Rose) [20(Pemphredon ssp.)]

Rubus (Blackberries) [4,20(Pemphredon ssp.)]
SimaroubaceaeAilanthus [4]


The following wood types are mentioned in literature as foodsources:

(Moschatel family)
Sambucus (Elder) [14]
Apiaceae [5]
Asteraceae [5]
(Composite family)

The wasp also lick honeydew of leaves [14].

Garden species

In the garden some umbellifers are present but I have not observed the species on it.

Apicaceae [5]
Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel)

– Pastinaca sativa (Parsnip)
Asteraceae [5]
–  Anthemis tinctoria (Yellow chamomile)

Cichorium intibus (Common cichory)

Solidago gigantea (Giant goldenrod)

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Taraxacum officinale (Common dandelion)


Pemphredon finds her prey on their food plants.

The following plants are mentioned in literature:

(Carnation family)
Stellaria media [15]

Garden species

The garden does not contain Caryophyllaceae.


The species uses only larger [5,12] aphids (Aphidoidea) for her brood [3,4,5,9,12,13,14]. She is not picky and will use whatever aphid species is present [4].
Sometimes an adult will eat of a caught aphid without transporting it to the nest [4].

The following species and group occurring in the Netherlands [1] are mentioned in literature:

Aphidoidea (Aphids) [3,9]Aphis
Aphis sumbuci (Elder aphid) [5,12]

Brachycaudus prunicola (Black peach aphid) [5 (as Anuraphis persicae)]

Lachnus pallipes [16]

Myzus cerasi (Black cherry aphid) [5]

Garden species

None of the prey species have been observed yet in the garden.


The following species and group occuring in the Netherlands [1] are mentioned in literature:


Chrysididae (Cuckoo wasps)

Elampus constrictus [4(as Omalus constrictus)]

Omalus aeneus [5,8]

Philoctetes truncatus [3]

Pseudomalus auratus [4,8][14(as Ellampus auratus)]
➡︎ brood idiobiont ectoparasitoid (eats food stock and larva) [14]
Pseudomalus triangulifer [8,13]
Pseudomalus violaceus [3,8,13][4(as Omalus violaceus)]

Ichneumonidae (Sluipwespen)

Perithous divinator [3,4,5]
Perithous scurra [3,5(as P.mediator)]
Perithous septemcinctorius [6,7]

Amobia signata [18]
*cuckoo wasp female does not enter the nest, instead parasitizes a living aphid that is then caught by the P. lugubris female and brought to the nest [8]


Length males: 7,5 – 10 mm
Length females: 10 – 11,5 mm


The genus Pemphredon can be identified using the following characters:

1.  Forewing: with two submarginal cells [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, Pemphredon: forewing with two submarginal cells

2. Forewing: with two discoidal cells [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, Pemphredon: forewing with two submarginal cells

3. Forewing: pterostigma smaller than marginal cell [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, Pemphredon: pterostigma smaller than marginal cell

4. Thorax: pronotum not enlarged, sides do not reach tegula [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, Pemphredon: pronotum not enlarged, hind edge does not reach tegula

5. Thorax: notauli do not reach back edge mesonotum [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, Pemphredon: notauli do not reach back edge

6. Abdomen: front first abdominal segment petiolate [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, Pemphredon: abdominal segment 1 frontally petiolate

specimen caught for photo identification on 09-x-2021, length ±13mm

Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎
Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎
Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎
Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎
  1. Antenna with 12 segments [9,10,11]
Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎, antenna with 12 segments

2. Abdomen with 6 segments [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎, abdomen with 6 segments

3. Clypeus with few silver hairs [10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎, clypeus with few silver hairs

4. Tergite 6 with pygidium [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎, tergite 6 with pygidium


1. Clypeus: frontal edge straight [10,11] ([KLEIN]: rounded [9])

Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎, clypeus front edge cut straight

2. No lump between the antennal implants [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎, no lump between antennal implants
Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎, no lump between antennal implants

3. Antennal segment 3 about 2,4-3x as long as wide [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎, antennal segment 3 length (l) 2,4-3 x width (w)


1. Forewing: second discoidal transverse vein joins submarginalcell 2 [9,(10),11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎, second discoidal transverse vein joins submarginalcell 2

2. Side thorax (mesopleuron): with transverse wrinkled structure in front of middle coxa [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎, mesopleuron in front of middle coxa with transverse wrinkled structure

3. Propodeum: edge dorsal field unclearly limited [9,11], narrow, with structure [10,11] and matt [10]


1. Petiolus: longer than half of tergite 1 [10], longer than half-length postpetiolus [11], long and slender [9]

Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎, petiolus (P) longer than postpetiolus (PP)

2. Pygidium long and narrow [9,10,11], not keel shaped [10]

Pemphredon lugubris ♀︎, pygidium long and narrow

specimen caught for photo identification on 30-v-2021, length ±9mm

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎
Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎
Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎
Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎

  1. Antenna with 13 segments [9,10,11]
Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, antennae with 13 segments

2. Clypeus: with silver hairs [10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎

3. Tergite 7 without pygidium [9,10,11]


1. Clypeus edge [11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, clypeus edge

2. No lump between the antennal implants [(9),10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, no lump between antennal implants
Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, no lump between antennal implants

3. Antennal members 5 – 9 with tyloids [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, tyloïden on antenna segments 5 – 9


1. Middle tarsal segment 1 apically almost straight [10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, middle tarsus member 1 apically almost straight

2. Side thorax (mesopleuron): with clear transverse wrinkled structure in front of middle coxa [9,10,11]

Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, mesopleuron in front of middle coxa with transverse stripes


  1. Petiolus: longer than tergite 1 [10] (postpetiolus [11]), long and slender [9]
Pemphredon lugubris ♂︎, petiole (P) longer than postpetiole (Pp)


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