Members of this superfamily largely provision their nests with other insects. Generally the group may be regarded as beneficial, the number of pest species that serve as prey far exceeding that of the entomophagous species. Habits of the group are much more simplified when compared to the Vespoidea and Apoidea, and there is little development of a complex social life as in the latter. The nests comprise either one cell or a group, and are located in diverse places. Most species burrow in the soil; but some build nests of mud, clay or sand, while others nest in stems of plants or in a variety of cavities of suitable size (Clausen 1940/1962).
Host preferences range wide, including almost all the more common insect orders, though the most common groups serving as prey are Hemiptera, Orthoptera, Hymenoptera, Homoptera, Diptera, Lepidoptera and spiders. In many species, especially those attacking large hosts, only a single prey is placed in each cell, while others may require a considerable number to bring each larva to maturity. The prey may be temporarily or permanently paralyzed, or it may be killed.
Clausen (1940) noted a number of researchers who had worked on the superfamily. Presently only the family Sphecidae is considered with 13 subfamilies as follows: Ampulicinae, Bembicinae, Cercerinae, Crabroninae, Larrinae, Mellininae, Nyssoninae, Pemphredoninae, Philanthinae, Pseninae, Sphecinae, Stizinae and Trypoxyloninae (see Taxnames for respective file names).
Insects of Australia. 1991. CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition, pp 989.
Insects of Australia and New Zealand. 1926. R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, p297.
What wasp is that? 2007. An interactive identification guide to the Australasian families of Hymenoptera