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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Sphex \Sphex\, n.[NL., fr. Gr. ???, ???, a wasp.] (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of sand wasps of the genus Sphex and allied genera. These wasps have the abdomen attached to the thorax by a slender pedicel. See Illust. of Sand wasp, under Sand.

Sphex fly (Zo["o]l.), any one of numerous species of small dipterous flies of the genus Conops and allied genera. The form of the body is similar to that of a sphex.


n. (context zoology English) Any of the sand wasps of ''Sphex'' and allied genus.


Wasps of the genus Sphex (commonly known as digger wasps) are cosmopolitan predators that sting and paralyze prey insects. Sphex is one of many genera in the old digger wasp family Sphecidae ( sensu lato), though most apart from the Sphecinae have now been moved to the family Crabronidae. There are over 130 known Sphex species.

Usage examples of "sphex".

Eumenes and the Odynerus, cousins of the Cerceris, which sting their prey in places as yet ill determined, not indeed so many isolated attempts, but an incomplete process of invention, an attempt at procedures still in the fact of formation: in a word, the birth of that marvellous instinct which ends in the transcendent art of the Sphex and the Ammophila.