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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Vespidae
Subfamily: Polistinae
Tribe: Ropalidiini
Genus: Belonogaster
Saussure, 1854[1]

Belonogaster (belone - "needle", gaster - "belly") is a large genus of mainly Afrotropical quasisocial wasps, although some species occur in Arabia and two extend as far as India.[2] They have characteristics of both the eusocial and the solitary wasps.[3] Belonogaster constructs communal paper nests where the grubs are fed on masticated, soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars.[4] The type species is Belonogaster juncea,[4] which consists of two subspecies: Belonogaster juncea colonialis and Belonogaster juncea juncea.[4] Belanogaster wasps are an important food source for wintering European honey buzzards (Pernis apivorus) in sub-Saharan Africa.[5] In African traditional medicine, wasps of the genus are cooked with plant roots and consumed to cure various childhood sicknesses, as well as having ceremonial use similar to that of honey bees (Apis mellifera).[6] Some birds choose to build their nests near the nests of Belonogaster for protection, including mousebirds and weavers.[7]

The following species are included:[4]


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  2. ^ O. W. Richards, 1982 A revision of the genus Belonogaster de Saussure (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Entomology 44(2): 31-114
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  4. ^ a b c d Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "waspweb" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
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  6. ^ O. A. Lawal and A. D. Banjo, 2007. Survey for the Usage of Arthropods in Traditional Medicine in Southwestern Nigeria. Journal of Entomology, 4: 104–112.
  7. ^