Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Photo#178585
European Paper Wasp Face - Polistes dominula

European Paper Wasp Face - Polistes dominula
Puyallup, Pierce County, Washington, USA
April 23, 2008
The markings here look just like a mouth to me. Are these markings mimicing (isn't mimicing a ridiculously spelled word?!) the yellow jacket head? Compare with

Images of this individual: tag all
European Paper Wasp - Polistes dominula European Paper Wasp - Polistes dominula European Paper Wasp Face - Polistes dominula

wow!
nice images! :)

 
Great Shot!
The Yellow Jacket head too! This is an excellent series. I like seeing more than just the top view!

Muellerian mimicry
The fact most Palaearctic Paper Wasp, including P. dominula, have a black and yellow color pattern similar to most Yellowjacket's is a case of Muellerian mimicry.
That is, both are potentially dangerous since they can sting, but they tend to resemble each other so that a potential enemy has only one "model" to remember.
Most species of this group have a complete horizontal black stripe on the otherwise mainly yellow clypeus (in the female gender, of course).
Only P. dominula and P. gallicus are variable in this respect, some individuals having a wholly yellow clypeus or nearly so. They are usually the yellower ones on the whole body, but exceptions occur - just like this one individual.

 
Thanks Richard,
with seven pages of this wasp in the guide, I almost didn't post this one. However, I decided to post because there was no April rep. for WA and I wanted to add the "belly" shot. Now, I'm glad I did because this one specimen seems to be quite a beauty. :)