Female Parischnogaster striatula provisioning a larval cell, copyright David Baracchi.

Belongs within: Euaculeata.
Contains: Polybia, Masarinae, Eumeninae, Zethinae, Polistinae, Vespinae, Eustenogaster, Liostenogaster.

The Vespidae is a family of often large wasps including the social wasps and their close solitary or subsocial relatives. Eusocial wasps are placed in the subfamilies Vespinae, Polistinae and Stenogastrinae, with species of the last being facultatively eusocial. Stenogastrine colonies, usually composed of up to ten individuals, are flexible in structure and they lack the true workers of other social wasps (Hines et al. 2007). Members of the Stenogastrinae are characterised by modification of the first metasomal segment into an extremely long petiole, as long as the remaining metasomal segments together. They are sometimes referred to as 'hover wasps' owing the characteristic hovering behaviour engaged in by species of some genera. Solitary wasps include the distinctive genus Euparagia, restricted to southwest North America, of which the species E. scutellaris is known to provision its nests with weevils.

Characters (from Naumann 1991): Mostly large (5-32 mm). Inner margins of compound eyes strongly emarginate except in Masarinae; mandibles generally short and broad but becoming elongate and crossing to form a distinct 'X' in many Eumeninae; glossae and paraglossae sometimes greatly produced and with apical sclerotised pads (acroglossal buttons); pronotum not freely movable against mesothorax, mid-dorsally short, posterolateral corner acutely produced dorsal to tegula and spiracle cover lobe close to tegula (remote in Stenogastrinae); parategula (an apically rounded, more or less dorsoventrally flattened lobe arising from posterolateral corner of mesoscutum and lying adjacent to tegula) present in Eumeninae and some Masarinae; calcar of hind tibia apically curved, bifid or trifid in some Masarinae, strigil well developed; fore wing at rest folded longitudinally in all except Stenogastrinae, Euparagiinae and many Masarinae; primitively with three submarginal cells in fore wing; cell 1M of fore wing elongate; hind wing jugal lobe often present; terga primitively overlapping sterna and freely movable against them, but with various degrees of fusion in many taxa; posterior metasomal segments often retractile within segment 2; T3 and S3 often enlarged; females ovipositing into cells before provisioning. Larvae variable, usually spinning a cocoon.

<==Vespidae [Eumenidae, Eumenididae, Vespariae]
    |--+--+--Masarinae HH07
    |  |  `--Euparagia Cresson 1879 HH07, S86 [Euparagiinae]
    |  |       |--E. richardsi HH07
    |  |       `--E. scutellaris WB03
    |  `--+--Eumeninae HH07
    |     `--+--Zethinae HH07
    |        `--+--Polistinae HH07
    |           `--Vespinae HH07
    `--Stenogastrinae HH07
         |  i. s.: Metischnogaster van der Vecht 1977 NK11
         |           |--M. cillipennis (Smith 1857) NK11
         |           `--M. drewseni (de Saussure 1857) NK11
         |         Cochlischnogaster Dong & Otsuka 1997 NK11
         |           `--C. spatulata Carpenter & Starr 2000 NK11
         |--+--Eustenogaster HH07
         |  `--Liostenogaster HH07
         `--Parischnogaster von Schulthess 1914 HH07, NK11
              |--P. alternata Sakagami 1969 NK11
              |--P. aurifrons (Smith 1862) NK11
              |--P. foveata (du Buysson 1907) NK11
              |--P. gracilipes (van der Vecht 1977) NK11
              |--P. jacobsoni (du Buysson 1913) NK11
              |--P. mellyi (de Saussure 1852) NK11
              |--P. nigricans (Cameron 1902) NK11
              |--P. striatula (du Buysson 1907) NK11
              `--P. unicuspidata Reyes 1988 NK11

Vespidae incertae sedis:
  Sinostigma Hong 1983 E01
    `--*S. spinalata Hong 1983 E01
  Curiosivespa R02
  Agelaia multipicta BR07
  Odontodynerus GS61
    |--O. brincki Giordani Soika 1961 GS61
    |--O. quadrituberculatus (Smith 1857) [=Odynerus quadrituberculatus] GS61
    |--O. rikatlensis [incl. O. hansi] GS61
    `--O. silaos (Saussure 1853) [=Odynerus silaos; incl. Ody. silaensis Saussure 1855] GS61
  Afreumenes GS61
    |--A. melanosoma GS61
    `--A. violaceus (Giordani Soika 1941) [=Eumenes (Afreumenes) violaceus] GS61
  Leptomenes GS61
    |--L. subtilis Giordani Soika 1938 GS61
    `--L. vulneratus (Saussure 1855) (see below for synonymy) GS61
  Quartinia capensis [incl. Q. scutellimacula Schulthess 1929, Q. capensis var. scutellimacula] GS61
  ‘Didineis’ solidescens Scudder 1890 BM76
  Epipona Latreille 1802 L02
    |--E. nidulans [=Vespa nidulans] L02
    `--E. tatua (Cuvier 1797) L02, C97 [=Vespa tatua L02]
  Nectarina B06
    |--N. augusti [incl. N. augusti var. quinta] B06
    `--N. lecheguana B06
  Chartergus B06
    |--C. apicalis G74
    |--C. chartarius H79
    `--C. globiventris B06
  Parachartergus bentobuenoi B06
  Polybia B06
  Synaeca B06
    |--S. cyanea B06
    `--S. surinama B06
  Leipomeles lamellaria B06
  Megacanthopus surinamensis B06
  Priorvespa bullata Carpenter & Rasnitsyn 1990 RJ93
  Leptochilus ornatus [incl. Stenodynerus zendaloides] S96
  Hoplomerus R13
    |--H. melanocephalus R13
    |--H. reniformis R13
    `--H. spinipes R13

Leptomenes vulneratus (Saussure 1855) [=Odynerus vulneratus; incl. Labus transiens Kohl 1907, Leptomenes transiens] GS61

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BM76] Bohart, R. M., & A. S. Menke. 1976. Sphecid Wasps of the World. University of California Press: Berkeley.

[B06] Brèthes, J. 1906. Véspidos y eumenídidos sudamericanos (nuevo suplemento). Anales del Museo Nacional de Buenos Aires, serie 3, 6: 310–377.

[BR07] Buzatto, B. A., G. S. Requena, E. G. Martins & G. Machado. 2007. Effects of maternal care on the lifetime reproductive success of females in a Neotropical harvestman. Journal of Animal Ecology 76 (5): 937–945.

[C97] Cuvier, G. 1797. Note sur une nouvelle espèce de guépe cartonnière. Bulletin des Sciences, par la Societé Philomathique de Paris 1 (8): 57–58.

[E01] Engel, M. S. 2001. A monograph of the Baltic amber bees and evolution of the Apoidea (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 259: 1–192.

[GS61] Giordani Soika, A. 1961. Hymenoptera (Aculeata): Vespidae. In: Hanström, B., P. Brinck & G. Rudebeck (eds) South African Animal Life: Results of the Lund University Expedition in 1950–1951 vol. 8 pp. 440–451. Almqvist & Wiksell: Uppsala.

[G74] Günther, K. K. 1974. Staubläuse, Psocoptera. Die Tierwelt Deutschlands 61: 1–315.

[HH07] Hines, H. M., J. H. Hunt, T. K. O'Connor, J. J. Gillespie & S. A. Cameron. 2007. Multigene phylogeny reveals eusociality evolved twice in vespid wasps. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 104 (9): 3295–3299.

[H79] Howse, P. E. 1979. The uniqueness of insect societies: aspects of defense and integration. In: Larwood, G., & B. R. Rosen (eds) Biology and Systematics of Colonial Organisms pp. 345–374. Academic Press: London.

[L02] Latreille, P. A. 1802. Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière des crustacés et des insectes vol. 3. Familles naturelles des genres. F. Dufart: Paris.

[NK11] Nicholas, A. S., J. Kojima, M. Y. Ruslan, M. Fauzi & A. B. Idris. 2011. A list of social vespid wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) from Kuala Lompat, Krau Wildlife Reserve, Pahang, peninsular Malaysia. Serangga 16 (1): 59–74.

[R02] Rasnitsyn, A. P. 2002. Superorder Vespidea Laicharting, 1781. Order Hymenoptera Linné, 1758 (=Vespida Laicharting, 1781). In: Rasnitsyn, A. P., & D. L. J. Quicke (eds) History of Insects pp. 242–254. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht.

[R13] Reuter, O. M. 1913. Lebensgewohnheiten und Instinkte der Insekten bis zum Erwachen der sozialen Instinkte. R. Friedländer & Sohn: Berlin.

[RJ93] Ross, A. J., & E. A. Jarzembowski. 1993. Arthropoda (Hexapoda; Insecta). In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 363–426. Chapman & Hall: London.

[S96] Smith, D. R. 1996. Review of the Gasteruptiidae (Hymenoptera) of eastern North America. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 98 (3): 491–499.

[S86] Snelling, R. R. 1986. The taxonomy and nomenclature of some Australian paragiine wasps (Hymenoptera: Masaridae). Contributions in Science 378: 1–19.

[WB03] Ward, P. S., & S. G. Brady. 2003. Phylogeny and biogeography of the ant subfamily Myrmeciinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Invertebrate Systematics 17: 361–386.

Last updated: 19 May 2020.

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