Metallic Brown Spider Wasp


FAMILY VESPIDAE - Potter Wasps and Paper Wasps

Order Hymenoptera

This page contains pictures and information about the Potter Wasps and Paper Wasps in family Vespidae that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Notice the strongly emarginated eyes and longitudinally folded wings 
Wasps in this family are from medium to large IN size. They can be recognized by the inner margins of their compound eyes strongly emarginated. The pronotum is shortened medially which form a "V" shape on the thorax. When rest, the forewings often folded longitudinally.  
All the social wasps are in this wasp family, although some other members are solitary wasps. Some of them build paper nest while others build mud nest. They provision the young with caterpillars
There are three Australian subfamily, the Eumeninae, Masarinae and Polistinae in this wasps family Vespidae. Masarinae species feed their young with nectar and pollen. They are rare in Brisbane and we did not find any yet. 
There are two introduced species of European Paper Wasps of genus Vespula, which are not common in Brisbane. They are in subfamily Vespinae, 

Subfamily  Eumeninae - Potter Wasps and Mud Nesting Wasps

wpe3A.jpg (29969 bytes) 

Potter Wasps build mud nest with jug shape. They are solitary wasps. They are common around Brisbane. 

Subfamily Masarinae - Pollen Wasps

Pollen wasps are solitary wasps and bee like. They provision their larvae with pollen and nectar. They are not common in Brisbane. 

Subfamily Polistinae - Paper Nesting Wasps

wpe2D.jpg (36075 bytes)

Paper Nesting Wasps build wide cone shape nest hanging with single stalk. They are social wasps living in colonies in a nest built of  "paper". They are common in Brisbane.

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 979.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p295. 
3. What wasp is that? - An interactive identification guide to the Australasian families of Hymenoptera, 2007.
4. Northern Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.
5. Family VESPIDAE Potter Wasps, Social Wasps - Australian Faunal Directory, Australian Biological Resources Study. 

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Last updated: July 22, 2012.