Aporus unicolor Spinola, 1808


This particularly distinctive member of our pompilid fauna is generally scarce, but it has been recorded widely in southern England. In Wales, it has been recorded from Bosherton, Dyfed, whilst on the Channel Islands it is known from Sark, Herm, Jersey and Guernsey.

Status (in Britain only)

Listed in Falk (1991) as Nationally Notable (Na).


Day, 1988 is the standard work for identifying British Pompilidae. Wiśniowski, B., 2009 is also useful.


The majority of modern records are coastal, with a suggestion of a decline inland which may be correlated to the widespread loss of inland habitat for the wasp's spider prey. On the coast, the habitat is typically cliffs and landslips, whilst inland, well-grazed downland and heathland are the usual haunt of both spider and wasp. In all these locations, south-facing slopes and banks in sunny locations are important.

Flight period

Apparently single-brooded; June to early September.

Prey Collected and nesting biology

Aporus unicolor preys on the purse-web spider, Atypus affinis Eichwald, which it locates and paralyses within the spider's characteristic silken burrow. The body shape of the wasp appears to be adapted for gaining entry to the host's nest, with the head and thorax rather elongated, the head flattened and the forelegs powerfully developed. The wasp larva eats the paralysed spider at the bottom of its burrow and pupates amongst the remains of its prey (Else, 1975).

Flowers visited

Umbellifers such as wild carrot, wild parsnip and rock samphire.

Author of profile

S J Falk.

Year profile last updated