Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps

Subfamily Eumeninae


Members of this cosmopolitan group, the mud, potter or mason wasps, are small to large solitary wasps. Over 350 Australian species and subspecies are described in 35 genera, many of them endemic. Some species are very common and conspicuous, building large mud nests on walls of houses. Adults are often collected on flowers or at water. Nests may be of mud cells built in the open (on house walls, rocks or vegetation), in burrows in the ground, or in wood. Some species use a paste of vegetable fibres to make their cells, and some species use abandoned mud nests of other species (Eumenidae or Sphecidae), partitioning large cells to the correct size. All Australian species appear to use larval Lepidoptera to provision their cells, although larval Coleoptera and Symphyta are also used by non-Australian eumenids (Evans & West Eberhard 1970; Reik 1970; Naumann 1991).

Recent studies on the behaviour of Australian eumenines, not mentioned in the checklist because the species were not identified, include: Smith (1978) on Paralastor sp.; Smith & Alcock (1980) on Epsilon sp. (as yet no Australian species are named in this small tropical genus); Naumann (1983) on Odynerus sp., Paralastor sp. and Abispa sp.

Distribution maps rely on Cardale (1985) except when specified differently.

Hermes et al. (2013) carried out a cladistic phylogenetic analysis based on morphological characters and identify three major lineages that are used to propose a tribal classification: Zethini, Eumenini (=Eumenes sensu lato), and Odynerini (=Odynerus sensu lato).


General References

Cardale, J.C. 1985. Hymenoptera: Vespoidea and Sphecoidea. pp. 150-303 in Walton, D.W. (ed.). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Hymenoptera: Formicoidea, Vespoidea and Sphecoidea. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service Vol. 2 vi 381 pp. [160]

Evans, H.E. & West Eberhard, M.J. 1970. The Wasps. Ann Arbor : Univ. Michigan 265 pp.

Hermes, M.G., Melo, G.A.R. & Carpenter, J.M. 2013. The higher-level phylogenetic relationships of the Eumeninae (Insecta, Hymenoptera, Vespidae), with emphasis on Eumenes sensu lato. Cladistics 30: 453–484

Naumann, I.D. 1983. The biology of mud nesting Hymenoptera (and their associates) and Isoptera in rock shelters of the Kakadu Region, Northern Territory. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service Special Publication 10: 127-189 [Date published 31/12/1983]

Naumann, I.D. 1991. Hymenoptera (Wasps, bees, ants, sawflies). pp. 916-1000 in CSIRO (ed). The Insects of Australia. A textbook for students and research workers. Carlton : Melbourne University Press.

Riek, E.F. 1970. Hymenoptera. pp. 857-959 in CSIRO (ed.). The Insects of Australia. A textbook for students and research workers. Carlton : Melbourne University Press xiv 1029 pp.

Smith, A.P. 1978. An investigation of the mechanisms underlying nest construction in the mud wasp Paralastor sp. (Hymenoptera : Eumenidae). Animal Behaviour 26: 232-240

Smith, A.P. & Alcock, J. 1980. A comparative study of the mating systems of Australian eumenid wasps (Hymenoptera). Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 53: 41-60


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
22-May-2017 Eumeninae 22-May-2017 MODIFIED
23-Mar-2015 VESPOIDEA 26-Apr-2017 MODIFIED
12-May-2014 Eumeninae 22-May-2017 MODIFIED
07-Aug-2012 25-Jul-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)