Alice Springs Desert Park

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Known locally in Central Australia as the Mud Wasp aka the Potter Wasp, the Australian Hornet (Eumenes latreilli), is a boldly coloured wasp with vivid orange markings.

The alternate names of Potter Wasp, Mud Wasp and Mason Wasp, is due to the nest they build created from reddish brown coloured mud, not to be confused with the Mud Dauber, who also build their nests from mud.

These are solitary insects, that belong to the vespid family Vespidae of insects that are native to Australia. This family of insects is said to number nearly 5,000 species, that include eusocial wasps as well as the many species of solitary wasps.

The Mud Wasp is quite common in the Northern Territory (plenty have been sighted in Alice Springs and Central Australia, tending to be near a water source, that provide moisture for mixing with the sand to create a mud paste for the nest. Their nests can be varied, being built against buildings such as on walls, along the mortar line of bricks, window frames, even a small one can be built on hanging hooks. Many Mud Wasps come back to the same nest year after year, just adding more mud to the existing structure. Holes are created within the mud where they place their prey (usually a caterpillar) for the larvae to feed on. The hole is then sealed. The evidence of the larvae having pupated into the adult wasp and having left the nest is the exposed hole opening.

With such a large number of species in the family, mud nest appear to vary among species, and with such a varied nest shape, it can be hard to identify the specific specie of mud wasp. Whilst we have listed the following shaped nest as Eumenes latreilli, we welcome any correction.

More information in our Fauna section about the Potter Wasp.

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Family: Vespidae
  • Subfamily: Eumeninae
  • Genus: Eumenes
  • Species: E. latreilli
  • Binomial name: Eumenes latreilli

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