Vespidae — Details

Hornets, Hornets and Yellowjackets, Paper Wasps, Potter Wasps, and Yellowjackets learn more about names for this taxon

Overview

Comprehensive Description

Vespidae (Vespid Wasps)
These medium to large wasps may be light brown, reddish brown, or black with yellow markings, especially around the face and on the abdomen. At rest, their wings appear pleated. These wasps exhibit varying degrees of sociality. The Polistes spp. (Paper Wasps) construct only small clusters of brood cells from paper (chewed plant material), while Vespula and Dolichovespula spp. (Yellow Jackets and Hornets) construct large spheroid nests from the same kind of material. These wasps bring back a variety of insects back to the nest (with hornets providing regurgitated food to their larvae). They have a reputation of being aggressive around their hives. There is a subfamily of the Vespidae that consists of solitary wasps, which will be discussed next. Eumeninae (Eumenine Wasps): Eumenine wasps are rather stout, medium-sized, brown with cream or yellow markings. They make mud-lined nests in the ground, or make pot-shaped nests from mud on the twigs of shrubs and small trees, or construct nests in wood cavities. Eumenine wasps attack caterpillars of moths, and carry them back to their nests as a food source for their larvae. Some species also prey on beetle grubs in the ground. Eumenine wasps are also frequent visitors of wildflowers.

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Ecology

Associations

Animal / associate
larva of Amobia signata is associated with nest of Vespidae

Animal / associate
larva of Macronychia griseola is associated with nest of Vespidae

Animal / associate
larva of Macronychia polyodon is associated with nest of Vespidae

Animal / associate
larva of Volucella is associated with nest of Vespidae

Animal / parasite / ectoparasite
larva of Volucella inanis ectoparasitises larva of Vespidae
Other: sole host/prey

Animal / associate
larva of Volucella zonaria is associated with nest of Vespidae

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Known prey organisms

Vespidae (Hymenoptera Vespidae 2 spp.) preys on:
Mammalia

Based on studies in:
Costa Rica (Carrion substrate)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • L. F. Jiron and V. M. Cartin, 1981. Insect succession in the decomposition of a mammal in Costa Rica. J. New York Entomol. Soc. 89:158-165, from p. 163.
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Known predators

Vespidae (Hymenoptera Vespidae 2 spp.) is prey of:
Anolis evermanni
Anolis gundlachi

Based on studies in:
Puerto Rico, El Verde (Rainforest)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Waide RB, Reagan WB (eds) (1996) The food web of a tropical rainforest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
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© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 5364
Specimens with Sequences: 4336
Specimens with Barcodes: 4059
Species: 521
Species With Barcodes: 448
Public Records: 1218
Public Species: 239
Public BINs: 224
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Barcode data

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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Vespidae

The Vespidae are a large (nearly 5000 species), diverse, cosmopolitan family of wasps, including nearly all the known eusocial wasps (such as Polistes annularis or Vespula germanica) and many solitary wasps. Each social wasp colony includes a queen and a number of female workers with varying degrees of sterility relative to the queen. In temperate social species, colonies usually only last one year, dying at the onset of winter. New queens and males (drones) are produced towards the end of the summer, and after mating, the queens hibernate over winter in cracks or other sheltered locations. The nests of most species are constructed out of mud, but polistines and vespines use plant fibers, chewed to form a sort of paper (also true of some stenogastrines). Many species are pollen vectors contributing to the pollination of several plants, being potential or even effective pollinators,[1] while others are notable predators of pest insect species.

The subfamilies Polistinae and Vespinae are composed solely of eusocial species, while Eumeninae, Euparagiinae, and Masarinae are all solitary; the Stenogastrinae subfamily contains a variety of forms from solitary to social.

In Polistinae and Vespinae, rather than consuming prey directly, prey are masticated and fed to the larvae, and the larvae, in return, produce a clear liquid (with high amino acid content) which the adults consume; the exact amino acid composition varies considerably among species, but it is considered to contribute substantially to adult nutrition.[2]

Gallery[edit]

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