Family Crabronidae - Sand-Daubers, Sand Wasps 

Order Hymenoptera

This page contains pictures and information about Sand-daubers and Sand Wasps in Family  Crabronidae that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Species in Crabronidae, are solitary hunting wasps.  Female wasp makes nest in soil or build mud cells for her young. She paralyses host arthropod, usually other insects or spiders, by her sting.  The sting is a modified ovipositor which injects venom paralyses but not kill the host. She keep the hosts in the nest and lay egg on hosts body. Larva hatches and feeds externally on prey. Larvae are legless and grub-like. See our Panda Sand Wasp page in which we had the detail information.
Wasps in Crabronidae are from small to large in size and some species have long slender waist. Adult wasps feed on nectar or honeydew. All wasps in this family will sting, although most Australian species are not aggressive. They usually found hunting on ground or on leaves, or sometimes found dragging prey to their nest. Nests are different for different species. Some nests are made by burrowing in the ground, by using existing cavities in ground, in dead wood or in  pith of plants.
Sphecidae and Crabronidae are very close related families. The classifications of Sphecidae and Crabronidae are very confusing. As now most recognised, the former Sphecidae is divided into two families, Sphecidae and Crabronidae. The redefined Sphecidae family constitutes only the subfamily Sphecinae. The Crabronidae constitutes the rest of the former Sphecidae subfamilies.

Crabronids can be recognised by the lack of a petiole between the mesosoma and metasoma or, if a petiole is present, then it is short or composed of tergal and sternal components and the basal jugal lobe of the hind wing is small. 
We found quite a number of wasps in Crabronidae and listed in the following pages; 

DSC_8889.jpg (124940 bytes) Subfamily Crabroninae - Sand-loving Wasps and Sand-dauber Wasps
Wasps in this subfamily are medium to large in size, with long body and usually black (and orange), more elongate than Bembicinae. They have spiny-legged and frequently with deformed ocelli. They generally provision with Orthoptera. Some species provision with spiders

wpe11.jpg (69467 bytes) Subfamily Bembicinae (previously Nyssoninae) - Sand Wasps
Sand Wasps in this subfamily are medium to large in size, with stout body and at least with one colour of orange, yellow or brown. Sand wasps are solitary hunting wasps. They are ground nesters. Females dig long barrow in sandy ground as nest for the young. They provision their nest with different insect prey, mostly flies. Males dig shorter burrow as sleeping chamber. Sand Wasp adults feed on nectar on flowers.

DSC_8842.jpg (111513 bytes) Subfamily Philanthinae - Social Digger Wasps
Digger Wasps in subfamily Philanthinae are medium in size. They are black with orange-yellow bandings. There is the petiole segment between the thorax and abdomen. The abdomen is constricted between segments. The head is relatively large and wide. The hind legs, or femur, are expanded and flattened. Those Digger wasps nest in bare, firm ground. They nest communally and there is some division of labour. All Australian wasps in this subfamily Philanthinae are in Cerceris genus, tribe Cercerini.

Unknown Sphecid Wasps

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 989.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p297. 
3. Family SPHECIDAE Mud-daubers, Sand Wasps - Australian Faunal Directory, Australian Biological Resources Study, 2009.
4. What wasp is that? - An interactive identification guide to the Australasian families of Hymenoptera, 2007.
5. Sphecidae - Insects of Townsville, Australia - Graeme Cocks.
6. Wasps - family Sphecidae - lifeunseen.com, by Nick Monaghan.
7. The sand wasps: natural history and behavior - Howard Ensign Evans, Kevin M. O'Neill, 2007.
8. Northern Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.
9. Sphecidae - Australian National Insect Collection Database, CSIRO.
10. Family SPHECIDAE (Digger Wasps) - Insects of Cedar Creek, Ecosystem Science Reserve, 2000.
11. Sphecidae {family} - Barcode of Life Database. 

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Last updated: July 08, 2012.