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Photo#47123
Is this a Polistes exclamans? - Polistes dorsalis

Is this a Polistes exclamans? - Polistes dorsalis
Lakeland, Polk County, Florida, USA
April 8, 2006
Size: 22 mm
One of my monarchs had just eclosed from its chrysalis. I photographed the process. I took the butterfly outside to put on my milkweeds when I found this wasp eating one of my monarch caterpillars! Such is the plight of the lowly caterpillar.

Moved
Moved from Polistes dorsalis.

Moved
Moved from Polistes.

Polistes dorsalis, female (FL)
Having had the opportunity recently to study P. bahamensis from the southeastern U.S. for the first time I can now decide this mistery. This is in fact P. dorsalis. Polistes bahamensis has darker hind tibiae and a conspicuously orange tip of the flagellum (contrasting with a black mid section). It also usually has four yellow stripes on the propodeum (lateral ones would be visible in this view).

Polistes bahamensis?, female
This is an intriguing specimen. It is not exclamans as suggested. The specimen is too dark: exclamans should have yellow spots on the lower mesopleuron, the sides of the propodeum (i.e. propodeum with 4 yellow stripes in total) and yellow bands on the posterior terga (missing here on T5 and T6). The colour pattern is consistent with both P. dorsalis and P. bahamensis (formerly considered a subspecies of exclamans). The relatively slender first metasomal segment (note the slight 'dip' on upper surface of tergum 1) suggests bahamensis. However, the flagellum should have the apical flagellomeres orange (contrasting with the median flagellomeres). This is the case at least in specimens from the Bahamas, which show a somewhat different coloration than U.S. specimens (species occurs from FL to LA). Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to examine specimens from the U.S. I therefore leave it open: either bahamensis or dorsalis.

very very nice
it is a Polistes for sure. Polistes are highly variable though. having said that there is a pretty could chance this is a P. exclamans

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