Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps


Potter Wasps, Social Wasps

Compiler and date details

July 2012 - Danielle N. Stringer, John T. Jennings & Andrew D. Austin, Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity, and the School of Earth and Environmental Science, The University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


The Vespidae is a cosmopolitan family that contains small to large, solitary and social wasps. Carpenter (1982) has proposed a reclassification of the Vespoidea, with the single family Vespidae divided into six subfamilies. Under this scheme, Australian species fall into the subfamilies Masarinae, Eumeninae and Polistinae, with Vespula in the Vespinae. Brothers (1975) reviewed the phylogeny and classification of aculeate Hymenoptera and divided them into three superfamilies: the Bethyloidea, the Vespoidea including the Scolioidea, Pompiloidea and Formicoidea of Riek (1970) and the Sphecoidea including Apoidea of Riek (1970). Further phylogenetic studies by Carpenter (1987, 1989, 1993, 1997) have reinforced the validity of this scheme.

Australian Vespidae are referred to four subfamilies. They total 433 described species and subspecies, in 40 genera. The subfamilial details are in the introductory sections to each subfamily.

Jennings & Austin (2015) list one unidentified species from Lord Howe Island in the Australian Museum.


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)
07-Aug-2012 07-Aug-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)