Cerceris Digger Wasp 1 - Cerceris sp.

Family Crabronidae, subfamily Philanthinae

This page contains pictures and information about Cerceris Digger Wasps that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Body length 10mm 
Digger Wasp in subfamily Philanthinae is medium in size . There is the petiole segment between the thorax and abdomen. The abdomen is constricted between segments. The head is large and wide. The hind legs, or femur, are expanded and flattened. 
DSC_2831.jpg (181139 bytes) wpe1.jpg (46860 bytes) DSC_2833.jpg (213570 bytes)
Digger wasps nest in bare, firm ground. They nest communally and there is some division of labour. All Australian wasps in this subfamily are in Cerceris genus.

First Encounter

In summer 2006, when we were looking for the Bembix nests, we found some smaller wasp nests in Karawatha Forest on bare sandy ground next to a foot track. We found at least four nests in the area. More than at least one wasp living in the same nest or using the same nest entry. Because we could not see the whole insect. We did hot exactly know what they were.
wpeC.jpg (21061 bytes) DSC_2833.jpg (89065 bytes) DSC_2832.jpg (216282 bytes)
The wasps do not close the entry. A wasp was always guarding at the entry. Within our 10 minutes watching, we saw one wasp fly out from the nest. We did not saw any wasp fly in except the one with prey trying to enter, mentioned below.
wpe5.jpg (53624 bytes) wpe1.jpg (60249 bytes) DSC_2831.jpg (432506 bytes)
We found two nests near the sand patch where we were looking for the Bembix. They were about ten meters apart. The entry was a small hole with 6mm in diameter. The entry was a dome of loose soil with diameter 80mm and 40mm height. 
wpeE.jpg (36771 bytes) wpe10.jpg (36556 bytes)
A wasp carrying a prey was coming back to the nest. Because we were inspecting the nest, it just rested on a small plant and waited. When we came close to it, it dropped the prey and flied away. The wasp was about 10mm in body length, with lemon-yellow and black body patterns. The prey was a small beetle (family Cleridae), 5mm body length, It was metallic brown in colour. It was paralyzed, but it legs still moved. 
wpe7.jpg (64933 bytes) wpe3.jpg (60034 bytes)
We waited for the whole afternoon and seldom saw them going in and out. When they did, they did it very quickly. We could not take any photos good enough to identify them. The above second photo was out of focus but it is the only full body photo that we took. We took this photo by ticking the guarding wasp came out of the nest (somewhat like fishing), then quick blocked the entry by a dry leaf. Anyway, the wasp went back into the nest within 10 seconds.

Finally found out who they are

In early summer 2007, we went back to the site again. We waited for an hour and we took the following photos.
DSC_8841_3.jpg (140261 bytes) DSC_8841_2.jpg (133406 bytes) DSC_8842.jpg (111513 bytes)
From those photos we finally confirmed that this wasp is the Cerceris sp. 

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 993.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p299. 

Back to Top

Up ] [ Cerceris Digger Wasp 1 ] Cerceris Digger Wasp 3 ] Cerceris Digger Wasp 4 ]


See us in our Home page. Download large pictures in our Wallpaper web page. Give us comments in our Guest Book, or send email to us. A great way to support us is to buy the CD from us.  
Last updated: July 07, 2012.