Psen ater (Olivier,1792)


Sphex ater FABRICIUS 1794 preocc.; Psen atratus JURINE 1807; Pelopoeus compressicornis FABRICIUS 1794; Psen serraticornis JURINE 1807

Description and notes

This species is probably extinct in Britain, with all records from more than 100 years ago.


The records came from North Hampshire and East Suffolk (Richards, 1980). The Suffolk observations possibly relate to the areas around Ipswich and Lowestoft (Falk, 1991).

Overseas, this is extremely rare in Fennoscandia, but widely distributed in the Palaearctic to Japan (Lomholdt, 1984).

Status in Britain and Ireland

Probably extinct, being unrecorded since 1850.


Lomholdt (1984) states that the species is found in "sandy localities".

Flight period


Prey collected

In keeping with the closely related Mimumesa species, small cicadas e.g. from the family Issidae, are collected, with 10-20 in each of 6-12 cells branching off from a central burrow (Falk 1991). 

Nesting biology

Lomholdt records the species as nesting in steep sandy banks, although Richards (1980) also speculates about the use of old beetle holes in dead wood.

Flowers visited

No information available.


No information available.

Author of profile

A Knowles

Year profile last updated