U of C


The family Vespidae (sensu Carpenter, 1981) includes approximately 4150 described species in six subfamilies:

Eumenine wasp female at entrance to nest

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 spines.

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.

Synagris cornuta nest

The 800+ species of polistine wasps, or paper wasps are widely distributed, particularly in tropical and warm temperate regions.