Subfamily Sphecinae - Digger Wasps

Family Sphecidae

This page contains pictures and information about Digger Wasps in subfamily Sphecinae that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Wasps in subfamily Sphecinae 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, including grasshoppers and katydids. Females build nest for their young by digging long tunnel in sandy ground. 
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Genus Sphex 

Sphex is the largest genus in Family Sphecidae. The forewing second sub-marginal cell is about a square, length equal to width, with long oblique spiracular groove on propodeum. Some species have attractive golden markings. 
Black Digger Wasp
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Sphex cognatus, body length 25mm
This wasp is black in colour. Female burrow in ground and prey on crickets and grasshoppers for their young. It builds its nest on the sandy shore of a creek. More pictures and information please visit this page.
Golden Digger Wasp
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Sphex ermineus, body length 20mm
We found this wasp in Karawatha Forest during late summer. It was hopping and searching on the forest floor. Its wings, thorax and head was in golden colour with a black body. Its legs were strong and was running fast. Please also check this page for more information.
White-waisted Digger Wasp
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Sphex sp., body length 25mm
We found this wasp on Dec 2009 in Daisy Hills near Buhot Creek. It was building a nest on the sandy ground with small rocks. The nest was only it body size in deep so it must be a newly build nest. To find out more details please visit this page.
Steel-black Digger Wasp
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Isodontia sp, body length 20mm
This wasp is medium size, black in colour with black tinted wings. It was hunting on the fallen rod. We found this wasp in Karawatha Forest during later summer Feb 2008. Please check this page for more infomation.
Giant Thread-waisted Wasp
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Prionyx globosus, body length 25-30mm 
This is a large wasp with steel black colour. Its wings were tinted in black colour too. We believed it is a Sphecinae wasp because its long and narrow petiole. We sometimes found this wasp flied pass us when we were bushwalking in Brisbane's eucalypt forests. Please check this page for more pictures and information.   

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. 
5. Family SPHECIDAE Mud-daubers, Sand Wasps - Australian Faunal Directory, Australian Biological Resources Study, 2009.

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Last updated: July 08, 2012.