Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Subfamily Eumeninae - Potter and Mason Wasps

Euodynerus? - Euodynerus megaera - female Which Ancistrocerus, please? - Ancistrocerus gazella - female Potter wasp and UFO - Parancistrocerus perennis Euodynerus ? - Euodynerus Wasp visiting a flower - Ancistrocerus albophaleratus Potter/Mason Wasp - male Parancistrocerus perennis - male Potter wasp
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
Superfamily Vespoidea (Yellowjackets and Hornets, Paper Wasps; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps and allies)
Family Vespidae (Yellowjackets and Hornets, Paper Wasps; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps)
Subfamily Eumeninae (Potter and Mason Wasps)
Numbers
>260 spp. in 25 genera in our area(1), >170 genera total
Size
10-20 mm(2)
Identification
key to genera of the continental US & Canada in(3)
A few genera can be identified by distinctive abdomen shape:
First two abdominal segments forming a tapered petiole linking abdomen and thorax: Eumenes, Zethus, Minixi, and Zeta.
Abdomen blunt where it meets thorax, with no obvious petiole between the two. Large, common wasps, with bold pattern: Monobia
Range
worldwide
Habitat
All habitats from northern boreal forests to the deserts of the southwest
Season
Throughout the warm season, year-round in the south
Food
Eumenines prey mainly upon moth larvae, although some take larvae of leaf-feeding beetles. Adults take nectar.
Life Cycle
Most species nest in pre-existing cavities (e.g., old borings in wood, hollow stems, crevices in rocks). They are called mason wasps because they use mud (or less commonly sand) as partitions between their brood cells. Some species construct nests in the ground (e.g., all Pterocheilus, Odynerus, Euodynerus annulatus, E. auranus, E. crypticus). Some ground-nesting species build small mud turrets over the nest entrance (Odynerus dilectus, Euodynerus annulatus). Other species construct more or less free-standing nests of mud ("potter wasps" because of the shape of some of these nests), e.g. Eumenes and Zeta.
Remarks
There are a number of cleptoparasites and parasites of eumenine wasps, with chrysidid wasps, mutillid wasps, and sarcophagid flies being most frequently reared from nests.
Internet References