Welcome to New Zealand Hymenoptera
Welcome to my website on New Zealand's "stinging wasps" (Hymenoptera: Aculeata).
This is a group which are composed of ants, bees, social wasps, and a number of other groups. They are characterised by the modification of the ovipositor into a sting. Other Hymenoptera (parasitoids) deposit their eggs via an ovipositor, but in stinging wasps eggs are laid from the base of their sting and the ovipositor is used instead to inject venom into prey and for defence.
These groups are some of the most common Hymenoptera found in New Zealand, and although it seems there are many species of stinging wasps in New Zealand (65 genera and 135 species), they are very poorly represented. In fact many groups that are commonly found around the world are not present in New Zealand. Also about half of these species (and half of the genera) have become accidentally introduced through human trade, or a few (7) have been introduced for pollination of crops.
The stinging wasps are among the best known Hymenoptera in New Zealand, with species-level revisions of the Pompilidae (Harris 1987), Sphecidae (includes Crabronidae) (Harris 1994), Dryinidae (Olmi 2007), Apoidea (Donovan 2007), and the Bethylidae (Ward 2013). Excellent information is also available on the ants (Don 2007; NZ ants factsheets) and ants and social wasps via the Landcare Research Invasive Invertebrate website.