Metallic Brown Spider Wasp


Large Mud-nest Wasp I - Abispa ephippium


This page contains pictures and information about Large Mud-nesting Wasps that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia. They are also known as Large Mason Wasps.

Body length 30mm, collecting mud to build mud pot.
This wasp is very large and with stout body, in fact the largest wasp species in Australia. Its head, antenna and legs are orange-yellow in colours. Its thorax is black with orange-yellow triangle shoulder. Its abdomen is segmented with orange-yellow and black. 
Large Mud-nest Wasps are solitary wasps and build mud pot-shaped nests in sheltered area. The nest is form by a number of mud cell chambers. They collect caterpillars and store in the cell chambers. Each cell the wasp lays an egg. The egg hatches into larva and feed on those caterpillars. After consumes all the caterpillars, the larva turns into pupa, then after a period of time, the pupa becomes an adult. The adult finds a mate, build another nest, lays eggs and start another cycle. 
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Large Mud-nest Wasps are common in Brisbane. We often see them searching for caterpillars on leaves in gardens and bushes. They are importance in controlling the number of caterpillars in the wild. 

Collecting mud to build nest 

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Large Mud-nest Wasps are solitary wasps and build mud pot-shaped nests in sheltered area. It is common to find the wasps on floor collecting soil and mud to build their nest.
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Sometimes we see them collecting mud on loose soil.
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Sometimes we see them on bare land. The wasp moisturizes the soil before collecting it.
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The wasp gathers the mud from a termite mount. It moisturizes the mud wall and then use its jaw to dig out the soils. Which those soils which formed a ball and easier to carry. We noticed that Large Mud-nest Wasp like to collect soil from termite mount.
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Large Mud-nesting Wasp's nest

Their nests are usually attached to tree trunks or the sides of buildings, often in small groups. The mud cell started with temporary trumpet-shaped entry. This discourage parasites from entering the nest..
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Developing nest with unfinished cells                       Completed nest
Females lay an egg inside each pot cell which she then capture caterpillars for the developing larvae to feed on. The wasp then covers the cells with extra mud to camouflage them. 

1. Wildlife of Greater Brisbane - Queensland Museum 1995, p117.
2. What wasp is that? - An interactive identification guide to the Australasian families of Hymenoptera, 2007.
3. Nesting Behavior of Abispa ephippium (Fabricius) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Eumeninae): Extended Parental Care in an Australian Mason Wasp - Robert W. Matthews and Janice R. Matthews, August 2009. 

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Up ] Yellow Potter Wasp ] Brown Potter Wasp ] Orange Potter Wasp ] [ Large Mud-nest Wasp I ] Large Mud-nesting Wasp II ] Black-headed Potter Wasp ] Black Mud-nesting Wasp II ] Black Mud-nesting Wasp II ] Fire-tailed Potter Wasp I ] Fire-tailed Potter Wasp II ] Fire-tailed Potter Wasp III ] Brown Mason Wasp ] Black Mason Wasp ]


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Last updated: July 22, 2012.