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Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology

The Australian social wasps (Hymenoptera : Vespidae)

OW Richards

Australian Journal of Zoology Supplementary Series 26(61) 1 - 132
Published: 1978


The social wasps of Australia are described, together with a few from New Guinea which are allied to the Australian ones and contribute to the understanding of their taxonomic position. The larvae and the nesting habits of the wasps are described so far as they are known. Three genera occur in Australia. Vespula with two introduced European species is locally established. Polistes has three subgenera, twelve species (one new) and five subspecies (two new). P. bader from Cocos Keeling and Christmas Is and P. barnbusae, sp. nov., with two subspecies from New Guinea are also dealt with, the latter in an appendix. The genus Ropalidia has been discussed at greater length because its whole classification required revision; six subgenera are now recognized though none requires a new name. The known nesting habits of the genus are briefly reviewed. There are 22 Australian species (14 new) with eight subspecies (two new). Two appendices deal with a key to the species of Ropalidia subgenus Icarelia, including non-Australian ones, and a key to most of the species of subgenus Polistratus.

© CSIRO 1978

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