Metallic Brown Spider Wasp


Genus Ropalidia - Small Brown Paper Wasps

FAMILY VESPIDAE, subfamily Polistinae 

This page contains pictures and information about the Small Brown Paper Wasps in genus Ropalidia that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia. 
Wasps in this genus build vertical long nests. They are usually dark dull brown in colours. Most species make simple, stalked, uncovered combs similar to the Genus Polistes. Some other species make much larger nests with many combs enclosed in an envelope. Some others nest inside tree hollows. 
We found quit a number of different species in this genus in Brisbane.  

Subgenus Icariola

White-faced Brown Paper Wasp
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Ropalidia plebeiana, body length 15mm
This paper wasp is mostly red-brown in colour with white rings around thorax and abdomen. They build single irregular disc form paper nest which is about 100mm in diameter. Pleas check this page for more information.
Disc-nest Brown Paper Wasp
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Ropalidia gregaria, length 10mm
We found this Disc-nest Wasps nest on road side hanging from a small pine tree about 1.5 meters above ground. The nest is flat in one layer. The wasps are brown in colour with yellow rectangular patterns on thorax, with two segments of  yellow band on abdomen. Notice that some nest cells are empty, some are with larvae or pupa inside. Please click here for more pictures and information.
Stick-nest Brown Paper Wasp
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Ropalidia revolutionalis, length 10mm
Their head, thorax, abdomen and wings are all in red-brown colour, with darker band on abdomen. Usually their nests consist of several adjacent combs. Each comb is about 100mm long, consist of two columns of cells. They are common in Brisbane gardens and backyards. They will attack and sting if nest are disturbed. More information please click here.
Dark-faced Brown Paper Wasp
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Ropalidia gracilenta, body length 15mm
This paper wasp is mostly red-brown in colour with white rings around thorax and abdomen. They build single narrow long paper nest. Please check this page for more information.
Tree Brown Paper Wasp
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Ropalidia socialistica, body length 12mm
This species nest in hollow of living trees. The Tree Brown Paper Wasps are bright dark brown in colour. There are six yellow spots on thorax. There is the yellow dot at the wing-base. There is the wide yellow band on each abdominal segment. Please check this page for more information.

Subgenus Icarielia

Yellow Brown Paper Wasp
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Ropalidia romandi, body length 12mm
We found this Yellow Paper Wasp near Bulimba Creek in Wishart. This wasp is medium in size, with more yellow colour than the other paper wasps. We have more information and pictures in this page.

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 980.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p296.
3. Paper Wasp Fact Sheet - by Chris Burwell, Queensland Museum, 2006.
4. What wasp is that? - An interactive identification guide to the Australasian families of Hymenoptera, 2007.
5. Northern Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.
6. Subfamily Polistinae - Australian Faunal Directory, Australian Biological Resources Study. 
7. The Australian social wasps (Hymenoptera : Vespidae) - Richards, OW (1978),  Australian Journal of Zoology Supplementary Series 26 , 1–132.

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Last updated: August 02, 2012.