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Species Polistes dominula - European Paper Wasp

European Paper Wasp - Polistes dominula European Paper Wasp - Polistes dominula European paper wasp? - Polistes dominula Wasp on aster stem - Polistes dominula - male European Paper Wasp - Polistes dominula Polistes dominula? with march fly prey - Polistes dominula Polistes dominula? - Polistes dominula Skinning a caterpillar - Polistes dominula
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 dominula (European Paper Wasp)
Other Common Names
Dominulus paper wasp
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Polistes dominula (Christ)
Explanation of Names
Female ruler, lady, mistress:
From Latin dominus- "lord, ruler, master" (related English words: dominion, domain, dominate) + the diminutive suffix -ul- which adds the meaning "little", and a feminine ending.

Until recently treated as an adjective describing the masculine noun "Polistes", but now is recognized as a feminine noun standing on its own. The first requires the masculine form dominulus, while the second keeps the original feminine form dominula.
Identification
No other species of Vespidae has mostly orange antennae.
Female Male
Range
Occurs throughout Eurasia; continues to expand North American range which is currently (2006) known to include northeastern US, Florida, Ontario, British Columbia, Washington to California and east to Colorado
Food
Larvae are fed chewed-up pieces of caterpillars and other insects caught by adults. The adults, like other paper wasps, feed on nectar from flowers and other sugary liquids.
Life Cycle
Only females are able to overwinter. Some "workers" of previous season are able to survive and act as auxiliary females for the foundresses, provided the quiescent phase has been short enough. (Comment by Richard Vernier)
Remarks
An introduced species from Eurasia, often mistaken for a yellow jacket. First reported in North America by G.C. Eickwort in 1978 near Boston, Massachusetts.
There are reports of it replacing native species of wasps in some areas (Bob Hammon, Colorado State U.)
Print References
Cranshaw, pp. 556-557 (1)
Madden, A. A., M. M. Davis, & P. T. Sparks 2010. First detailed report of brood parasitoidism in the invasive population of the paper wasp Polistes dominulus (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) in North America. Insectes Sociaux 57: 257-260. (2)
Internet References
first appearance in Colorado (Bob Hammon, Colorado State U.)
occurrence in Michigan (Zachary Huang, Michigan State U.)
first record in British Columbia and citation of first North American report by G.C. Eickwort in 1978 (Entomological Society of British Columbia)
arrival in Ontario (Guides-on-Demand, hopscotch.ca)
account of spread across North America [but the "first report" date of 1981 near Boston is an error: G.C. Eickwort's report was published in 1978] (Chip Taylor, butterflywebsite.com)
Works Cited
1.Garden Insects of North America : The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs (Princeton Field Guides)
Whitney Cranshaw. 2004. Princeton University Press.
2.First detailed report of brood parasitoidism in the invasive population of the paper wasp Polistes dominulus ...
A. A. Madden, M. M. Davis, P. T. Sparks . 2010. Insectes Sociaux 57: 257-260.
3.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].