Metallic Brown Spider Wasp


Stick-nest Brown Paper Wasp - Ropalidia revolutionalis


This page contains pictures and information about Stick-nest Brown Paper Wasps that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Body length 10mm
Stick-nest Brown Paper Wasps are common in Brisbane gardens and bushlands. This species is smallest paper wasps that we found. Their head, thorax, abdomen and wings are all in dark reddish-brown colour, with darker band on abdomen. They are not aggressive but will sting if their nest is disturbed.  
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This Small Brown Paper Wasp is dark reddish-brown in colour.  
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Stick-shaped Nest

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Their nest look like a group of small sticks hanging off branch. The nest consists of several adjacent combs. Each comb is about 100mm long with one or two columns of cells. The above picture shows the established paper wasps nest in late summer. 
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Starting Colony

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We found that for this species, some of them start a nest with a few wasps working together. Some start a nest by one single female. She will become the queen if she her nest can be established. 
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Newly started nests, pictures taken on Jan 2010 in Karawatha Forest. It seems that this species a few wasps like to make their nests at the same stem of a plant.
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Paperwasps, like all ants and some bees, are social insects, each nest is a colony of females. Only one female, the queen, lays all the eggs. All the other females are workers, they help their mother queen for feeding their sisters. At the end of the summer season, the colony produces males and fertile females. They mate with the males and fertile females from other colonies. The fertile females then hind in some place for the winter, then start their own colony in the spring season.
The above pictures show a wasp attending a larva. Paper Wasps feed their young with insects such as caterpillars. Adult wasps feed on nectar. Notice the way how to keep their wings when rest. This is the common characteristic of all paper wasps. Other wasps do not keep their wings in this way.
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Paperwasps setup nest in spring season. A few wasps work together to build the nest. They could be sisters. The second picture show a working wasp. Paper Wasps have a yearly cycle of their life. In spring season a Paper Wasp female starts building its nest. She will be the queen if her colony can be established.  Paper Wasps build nest under sheltered area, such as under palm leaf, large tree trunk and building covers. 
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Workers forage food, i.e., caterpillars and some other soft body insects to feed the larvae in the nest. Adult wasps feed on nectar from flowers.
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Those developed nest were found on Mar 2010.
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Paper Wasps make their nests by chewing decayed wood mixing with their saliva. A number of hexagonal shape cup cell grouped together to form a comb. An egg is lay in each cell. The larva develops and pupates inside the cell, emerges and becomes an adult wasp. 
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Workers forage food, i.e., caterpillars and some other soft body insects to feed the larvae in the nest. Adult wasps feed on nectar from flowers.
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1. Wildlife of Greater Brisbane - Queensland Museum 1995, p114.
2. The Australian social wasps (Hymenoptera : Vespidae) - Richards, OW (1978),  Australian Journal of Zoology Supplementary Series 26 , 1–132.

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Last updated: July 31, 2012.