The family Vespidae (sensu Carpenter, 1981) includes approximately 4150 described
species in six subfamilies:
- 9 species in southwestern North America and northern Mexico. The
primitive sister group of the remaining 5 subfamilies of Vespidae.
- Bohart, R.M. 1989. A review of the genus Euparagia (Hymenoptera,
Masaridae [sic]). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 62 (4):
- 300 -odd species in Africa, South America, Europe (1 species), western
North America (Pseudomasaris with 14 spp.), Australia and western Asia.
Masarine wasps are unique among the Vespoidea in having secondarily
derived the behaviour of foraging for pollen/nectar mixtures to provision
their nests, suggesting for them their common name, pollen wasps.
- Reference: Gess, S.K. 1996. The Pollen Wasps: Ecology and Natural
History of the Masarinae . Harvard U. Press).
- Approximately 3000 species world-wide, the Eumeninae includes the
solitary and subsocial potter and mason wasps and is the most
speciose lineage of the Vespidae. Nesting habits vary, with some
species constructing ground burrows, some making mud-nests, some
partitioning abandoned beetle burrows, crevices and other holes into
one to several cells for their young. All provision their offspring with
arthropod prey, primarily Lepidoptera larvae, but in a few cases the
larvae of Coleoptera and perhaps other groups may be used.
- Many eumenine wasps can be easily observed by using artificial nesting
sites consisting of holes drilled in blocks of wood. These "trap-nests" can
be split open after the nest is closed and the contents (wasp larvae and
provisions) reared to adulthood.
- I am particularly interested in a genus of Afrotropical eumenine wasps, many
species of which are unusual in aspects of their behaviour and morphology.
Synagris wasps build mud nests and, in some cases, provide provisions on a
day to day basis while the offspring develop (progressive provisioning) rather
than all at once prior to the larva eclosing from the egg (mass provisioning). The
males of some species show a pattern of dimorphism in the development of
unusual secondary sexual characteristics including "tusks" and abdominal
- Genus Synagris
- Carpenter, J.M. &;J.M. Cumming. 1985. A character analysis of the North
American potter wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae; Eumeninae). Journal of
Natural History 19: 877-916.
- Cowan, D.P. 1991. The solitary and presocial Vespidae. pp. 33-73 In K.G. Ross
&;R.W. Matthews, eds. The Social Biology of Wasps. Cornell U. Press.
- About 50 species of hover wasps in six genera occur in the rainforests
of the Indo-Pacific tropics.
- Turillazzii, S. 1991. The Stenogastrinae. Pp. 74-98 In K.G. Ross &;R.W.
Matthews, eds. The Social Biology of Wasps. Cornell U. Press.
- The 800+ species of polistine wasps, or paper wasps are widely distributed,
particularly in tropical and warm temperate regions.
- About 60 species of hornets and yellowjackets are distributed
throughout the Holarctic region and the Oriental tropics.
- Yellowjackets of North America and Alberta
- References: Matsuura, M. &;S. Yamane. 1984. Biology of the vespine