Family Sphecidae - Mud-Daubers, Thread-waisted Wasps and Digger Wasps

Order Hymenoptera 

This page contains pictures and information about Mud-Daubers, Thread-waisted Wasps and Digger Wasps in family Sphecidae hat we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Species in Sphecidae 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. 
Wasps in this family 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. Some species construct mud cells in open, on house walls or rocks or tree trunks, some use abandoned mud nests.
We found quite a number of wasps in family Sphecidae and listed in the following pages;

DSC_2084.jpg (158084 bytes)Sceliphroninae - Mud-dauber Wasps
Wasps in this tribe build mud cell nest and provisioned the young with spiders

DSC_2242.jpg (148399 bytes)Ammophylinae - Thread-waisted Wasps
The wasps in Ammophylini are usually black/red or black/yellow in colours. They build ground burrows and provision with caterpillars

DSC_1974.jpg (425989 bytes)Sphecinae - Digger Wasps
Wasps in subfamily are usually black in colour, from medium to large size. They have the abdomen link with thorax with very slender cylindrical stalk-like petiole, i.e. the thread-waist. They predatory on Orthoptera. Females build nest for their young by digging long tunnel in sandy ground.

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. 

Back to Top

Up ] Nesting Behaviour ] [ Sphecidae ] Crabronidae ] Unknown Sphecid Wasps ]


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: June 28, 2012.