Domain: Eukarya
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Ichneumonidae
Genus: Hymenoepimecis
Species: Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga

(Myers et. al, 2012)

Understanding this species name:
Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga
Hymeno- refers to a membrane
-epi- refers to the outside perimeter
argyra- refers to a spider
-phaga refers to ingestion/digestion

Defining the Groups

--> Eukarya: Simply put, a eukaryotic organism is one that is composed of eukaryotic cells. This means their cells will have a variety of organelles such as: mitochondria, golgi apparatus and possibly even chloroplasts. [To see a chloroplast containing organism, look here to view apples!] In addition, a membrane-bound nucleus must be present which contains DNA organized into chromosomes. (Columbia Encyclopedia, 2012) With the below image, one is able to see the great phylogenetic tree of life courtesy of Eric Gaba.

Eukaryotes, along with Bacteria and Archaea, make up the three major domains of all life. This particular tree was configured by Carl Woese by looking at numerous amounts of RNA data.

--> Animalia: This kingdom, sometimes referred to as the Metazoa, contains quite an array of creatures that many would be most familiar with. It is important to note that all animals are both heterotrophic and multicellular, unlike some species like the bacteria Escherichia coli.  On the molecular level, it is seen that animal cells are mostly diploid and don't exhibit rigid cell walls, like that seen in the kingdom Land Plants. The fine details of the Animalia lineage are not clear and cannot be decided upon, but the idea that Animalia is a monophyletic group is widely accepted. (Dewey, TA., 2002). Again, the diversity in this group is tremendous; it ranges from such species as the bighorn sheep to the Beluga Whale.

--> Arthropoda: Found in this phylum are all of what one would consider the "creepy crawlies". Such organisms as the mayfly  and the Eastern Asian ant fall into this category. Such things as segmented bodies, a coelom body cavity and exoskeletons characterize Arthropoda. (For more information on the history and evolution of  coeloms, visit this site.) Also, because Arthropoda are a part of the ecdysozoans, they are prone to molting. (Columbia Encyclopedia, 2012)

--> Insecta: This class is in fact the largest and most diverse of the Arthropoda phylum. To better suit their environments, insects have adapted quite a variety of feeding structures and food acquisition techniques. These organisms feed upon many human agricultural crops, domesticated animals and even parasitizing humans (Columbia Encyclopedia, 2012). See the deer tick for a closer look at parasitic arthropods. In addition, there are insects that prey upon the nutrients flowing through trees such as the emerald ash borer.

--> Hymenoptera: The presence of two pairs of wings, both fore wings and hind wings, along with ovipositors, antennae and pupation via a cocoon are the basis for this order. (Allaby, 2012)

--> Ichneumonidae: For this family, the characters of the hymenoptera have been narrowed. For instance, the antennae are said to have at least sixteen segments and be at a length of the the body span. The body plan is characterized as slender and wasp-like. In North America alone, there are around 5000 species described. (Bugguide, 2012)

--> Hymenoepimecis: Very specifically, this clade of  neotropical wasps are all koinobiont ectoparisitoids of spiders (Gauld, 2000). I will detail this more later.

--> Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga: As seen in the tree below, this particular species is highly derived. It seems that the defining trait setting the H. argyraphaga wasp apart from the rest of its genus is its entirely black wing structure. The synapamorphies are specific to the morphological features setting each organism or group of organisms apart.

"Cladogram summarizing hypotheses of relationship of Hymenoepimecis argyraphaga. The derived features supporting these clades are: (1) long, straight ovipositor with an angulate basal swelling; metasomal tergites II-III biconvex; (2) absence of epomia; enlarged ocelli and eyes; (3) occipital carina is strongly raised, flange-like, projecting backwards to surround the anterior reflexed end of the pronotum; head rounded with genae strongly narrowed from eyes to occipital flange; pronotum unusually elongate, with a long horizontal part mediodorsally; (4) pronotum mediodorsally with a forwardly directed "pocket-like" flange; fore legs enlarged, with the femora of similar size to or larger than the mid femur; (5) presence of a horizontal pronotal "shelf"; (6) cocoon without a caudal orifice; (7) wings uniformly blackish; (8) loss of epicnemial carina; loss of submetapleural carina." (Gauld, 2000). This phylogenetic tree was adapted from that made by Ian Gauld.

Onward to Habitat!