Subfamily Sceliphroninae - Mud-dauber Wasps

Family Sphecidae

This page contains pictures and information about Mud-dauber Wasps in Sceliphroninae that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Wasps in Sceliphroninae build mud cell nest and provisioned the young with spiders. They have very long and slender petioles. They are the true mud-dauber, building their nest with moist clay in hollow tree-trunks, sheltered part of rocks or on walls of houses. Different species look similar but the nest they build are looked quite different.

Vase-cell Mud-dauber Wasp
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Sceliphron formosum, body length 22mm
Some wasps build nests with pellets of mud. Those are individual cells in rows built by Mud-Dauber Wasps. They are very common around Brisbane in sheltered locations. If a cell is opened, you may find a wasp larva, together with some spiders which are the larva's foods. They are collected by the mother wasp. We opened one cell and recorded the development of a wasp from larva. Details please click on here.
Covered-cell Mud-dauber Wasp
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Sceliphron laetum, body length 22mm 
We found those mud cells that we believed they are belong to the Mud-dauber Wasp Sceliphron laetum. However, we did not ever confirm seeing one S. laetum yet. Please check this page for more details.
Barrel-cell Mud-dauber Wasp
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Sceliphron caementarium, body length 20mm   
We found this barrow-shaped cell wasp nest under the ceiling of a shack near Tingalpa Resovior. We collected them to see what will come out. A few cells were broken and a wasp came out which was almost matured. It slowly walked a short distance on the floor and than flied away. Please check this page for more details.

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 991.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p297.
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. 

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Last updated: July 01, 2012.