Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Polistes rubiginosus

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Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
Superfamily Vespoidea (Yellowjackets and Hornets, Paper Wasps; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps and allies)
Family Vespidae (Yellowjackets and Hornets, Paper Wasps; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps)
Subfamily Polistinae (Paper Wasps)
Genus Polistes
Species rubiginosus (Polistes rubiginosus)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
This species was previously known as Polistes perplexus Cresson, 1872. However, as was recently discovered (Buck et al., 2012), the name Polistes rubiginosus Lepeletier, 1836 is older and has priority. Polistes rubiginosus was formerly considered a synonym of P. carolina (Linnaeus, 1767). Other synonyms: Polistes generosus Cresson, 1872.
Identification
Very similar to Polistes carolina, and formerly considered synonymous. See comments under this image:

The key difference is in the wasp's "cheek" (works only for females). For a side-by-side comparison of the two species see here (images from Polistes key in the Identification Atlas of the Vespidae of the Northeastern Nearctic Region (1)).
Print References
Buck, M., T.P. Cobb, J.K. Stahlhut & R.H. Hanner (2012): Unravelling cryptic species diversity in eastern Nearctic paper wasps, Polistes (Fuscopolistes), using male genitalia, morphometrics and DNA barcoding, with descriptions of two new species (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Zootaxa 3502: 1-48. (PDF of abstract)
Internet References
References under the synonymous name P. perplexus:
ANSP--lists synonymy with generosus
Works Cited
1.Identification Atlas of the Vespidae (Hymenoptera, Aculeata) of the Northeastern Nearctic Region
Matthias Buck, Stephen A. Marshall, and David K. B. Cheung. 2008. Biological Survey of Canada [Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification].