CSIRO logo
   Australian National Insect Collection Database
Skip Navigation Links
Taxon DatabaseExpand Taxon Database
Entomology Home





 Overview  Images  Identification  Specimens --- References/Links  Nomenclature ---
Only three of the six subfamilies occur naturally in the region. The Eumeninae, comprising 80% of Australian species, are all solitary and nest in soil, pre-existing tunnels in wood, the mud nests of other wasps or construct their own mud nests, which they provision with lepidopteran (moth and butterfly) caterpillars for their developing larvae. Marsarinae are also solitary and nest mostly in the ground, but provision their nests with pollen and nectar. The Polistinae and introduced Vespinae are eusocial. They construct 'paper' nests of chewed wood, and progressively feed their larvae with lepidopteran larvae or other insect prey. Polistines mostly build exposed, often flattened bell-shaped nests and adult wasps rest on the outside. Polistines are also known from New Guinea and other island groups in the south-west Pacific. Originally from India and Asia, the yellow oriental paper wasp, Polistes olivaceus, has become established in New Caledonia and several other south-west pacific islands, and has recently been found in New South Wales and New Zealand. Vespinae are known from two introduced species in Australia and New Zealand (Vepsula germanica and V. vulgaris). Commonly known as European wasps, these species construct large ball-shaped nests underground or in trees or buildings that can contain several thousand wasps. Worker wasps forage for nectar, fruit, honeydew as an energy source and prey on a wide range of arthropods which are brought back to the nest and fed to the larvae.

Abispa sp.
Ropalidia nigrion



Web site by Steve Shattuck and Natalie Barnett, © Copyright 2005-2019 CSIRO Australia.
Use and information subject to our Legal Notice and Disclaimer. Problem? Contact webmaster.
Please cite this page as: CSIRO, 2019. Australian National Insect Collection Taxon Database, viewed 26 August 2019, <http://anic.ento.csiro.au/database>.