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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Subclassis: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Infraclassis: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Hymenopterida
Ordo: Hymenoptera
Subordo: Apocrita
Superfamilia: Vespoidea

Familia: Vespidae
Subfamiliae: Eumeninae - Euparagiinae - Masarinae - Polistinae - Stenogastrinae - Vespinae

Overview of genera (53)

Agalaia – Agelaia – Angiopolybia – Anischnogaster – Apoica – Asteloeca – Belonogaster – Brachygastra – Chalogaster – Chartergellus – Charterginus – Chartergus – Chatergellus – Clypearia – Curiosavespa – Curiosivespa – Dolchivespula – DolichovespulaEpipona – Eustennogaster – Eustenogaster – Icaria – Ischnogaster – Leipomeles – Liostenogaster – Metapolybia – Metischnogaster – Mischocyttarus – Monacanthocnemis – Monerebia – Myraptera – Nectarinella – Odynerus – Palaeovespa – Parachartergus – Paraicaria – Parapolybia – Parischnogaster – PolistesPolybia – Polybioides – Priorvespa – Protonectarina – Protopolybia – Provespa – Pseudopolybia – Ropalidia – Stenogaster – Sybillina – SynoecaVespaVespulaZethus

[source: Catalogue of Life: 2011 Annual Checklist]


Carpenter, J.M. 2008: Review of the Hawaiian Vespidae (Hymenoptera). Bishop Museum occasional papers, (99) full article (PDF)
Dos Santos, J.N.A. Jr, Silveira, O. T. & Carpenter, J.M. 2015: Phylogeny of Protopolybia Ducke, 1905 and taxonomic revision of the Protopolybia exigua species-group (Hymenoptera: Vespidae, Polistinae), with description of four new species. Zootaxa 3956(2): 151–182. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3956.2.1. Preview (PDF) Reference page.
Dvořák, L.; Roberts, S.P.M. 2006: Key to the paper and social wasps of Central Europe (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Acta Entomologica Musei Nationalis Pragae 46: 221–244. PDF Reference page.
Gusenleitner, J. 2010: Order Hymenoptera, family Vespidae. Arthropod fauna of the UAE, 3: 422–467. [not seen]
Hensen, R. V. & L. H. M. Blommers 1987: Review of the Malagasy species of Belonogaster Saussure (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 130 (1): 11–31.
Kojima, J. & C. van Achterberg 1997: List of the primary types of social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) deposit in the Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum, Leiden, and the Zoölogisch Museum, Amsterdam. Zoologische Meededelingen 71 (14): 157–169. Full article: [1]
Kojima, J.-I. et al. 2011: On the species-group taxa of Taiwanese social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) described and/or treated by J. Sonan. Zootaxa, 2920: 42–64. Preview PDF
Rafi, M.A., Carpenter, J.M., Qasim, M., Shehzad, A., Zia, A., Khan, M.R., Mastoi, M.I., Naz, F., Ilyas, M., Shah, M. & Bhatti, A.R. 2017. The vespid fauna of Pakistan. Zootaxa 4362(1): 1–28. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4362.1.1 Reference page.
Richards, O.W. 1978: The Australian social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Australian journal of zoology, supplementary series, (61) DOI: 10.1071/AJZS061
dos Santos, J.N.A. Jr, Silveira, O.T. & Carpenter, J.M. 2017. A new species of the genus Protopolybia Ducke, 1905 (Hymenoptera, Vespidae, Polistinae), with taxonomic contributions to the exigua species-group. Zootaxa 4286(3): 432–438. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4286.3.11. Reference page.
dos Santos, J.N.A., Silveira, O.T. & Carpenter, J.M. 2018. Taxonomic revision of the Protopolybia sedula species-group (Hymenoptera, Vespidae, Polistinae), with an new identification key to species. Zootaxa 4403(1): 87–98. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4403.1.4 Reference page.
Vecht, J. van der; Carpenter, J.M. 1990: A catalogue of the genera of the Vespidae (Hymenoptera). Zoologische Verhandelingen, 260: 1–62. ISSN: 0024-1652
Mahmood, K. et al. 2012: To the knowledge of Vespidae (Hymenoptera) of Pakistan. Zootaxa 3318: 26–50. Preview Reference page.
ZooBank: EC5A49CA-8D1A-416B-BEF4-7D292A4E3755


Vespidae of the World

Vernacular names
català: Vespa
čeština: Sršňovití
Deutsch: Faltenwespen
English: Wasps
español: Avispa, Véspidos
eesti: Voltherilased
suomi: Ampiaiset
français: Guêpe
magyar: Redősszárnyú darazsak, valódi darazsak, darazsak
հայերեն: Բալղինջ, կրետ, բրետ, իշամեղու, պիծակ, տրիժան
italiano: Vespa
日本語: スズメバチ科
Līvõ kēļ: Vapsūd
lietuvių: Vapsvos
latviešu: Lapsenes
Nederlands: Wesp
Diné bizaad: Tsísnáłtsʼooí
polski: Osowate
português: Vespa
русский: Настоящие осы, складчатокрылые осы
davvisámegiella: Vieksát
slovenščina: Prave ose
српски / srpski: Осе
svenska: Getingar
vèneto: Brespa

The Vespidae are a large (nearly 5000 species), diverse, cosmopolitan family of wasps, including nearly all the known eusocial wasps (such as Polistes fuscatus, Vespa orientalis, and Vespula germanica) and many solitary wasps.[1] 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 last only 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,[2] while others are notable predators of pest insect species.

The subfamilies Polistinae and Vespinae are composed solely of eusocial species, while the Eumeninae, Euparagiinae, Gayellinae, Masarinae and Zethinae are all solitary with the exception of a few communal and several subsocial species. The Stenogastrinae are facultatively eusocial, considering nests may have one or several adult females; in cases where the nest is shared by multiple females (typically, a mother and her daughters) there is reproductive division of labor and cooperative brood care.[3]

In the Polistinae and Vespinae, rather than consuming prey directly, prey are premasticated and fed to the larvae, which in return, produce a clear liquid (with high amino acid content) for the adults to consume; the exact amino acid composition varies considerably among species, but it is considered to contribute substantially to adult nutrition.[4]

Fossils are known since Aptian of the Early Cretaceous, with several described species from Cretaceous amber.[5]


Pickett, Kurt M.; Wenzel, John W. (2004). "Phylogenetic Analysis of the New World Polistes (Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Polistinae) Using Morphology and Molecules". Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society. 77 (4): 742–760. doi:10.2317/E-18.1. S2CID 85737989.
Sühs, R.B.; Somavilla, A.; Putzke, J.; Köhler, A. (2009). "Pollen vector wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) of Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae), Santa Cruz do Sul, RS, Brazil". Brazilian Journal of Biosciences. 7 (2): 138–143.
PK Piekarski, JM Carpenter, AR Lemmon, E Moriarty-Lemmon, BJ Sharanowski. (2018) Phylogenomic Evidence Overturns Current Conceptions of Social Evolution in Wasps (Vespidae). Molecular Biology and Evolution. 35:2097-2109.
Hunt, J.H.; Baker, I.; Baker, H.G. (1982). "Similarity of amino acids in nectar and larval saliva: the nutritional basis for trophallaxis in social wasps". Evolution. 36 (6): 1318–22. doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.1982.tb05501.x. PMID 28563573.
Perrard, Adrien; Grimaldi, David; Carpenter, James M. (April 2017). "Early lineages of Vespidae (Hymenoptera) in Cretaceous amber: Vespidae in Cretaceous amber" (PDF). Systematic Entomology. 42 (2): 379–386. doi:10.1111/syen.12222. S2CID 90328491.

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