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Photo#8896
Red Wasp - Polistes rubiginosus

Red Wasp - Polistes rubiginosus
Raven Rock State Park, Harnett County, North Carolina, USA
March 26, 2004
Closer view of same bunch of individuals coming out of a tree cavity as seen here:



I do not see any apparent males--that is, I do not see any individuals with curly antennae and yellow-striped faces. (Brimley, (1) wrote of a North Carolina Polistes species where both males and females overwintered.)

Polistes perplexus ?
Polistes perplexus is impossible to separate from P. carolina based on an image alone (one has to examine the microsculpture of the gena at high magnification). The nest site of these wasps (in a hollow trunk), however, is typical for P. perplexus. Polistes carolina (according to literature data) nests in more open situations such as below eaves of roofs. I am therefore leaning towards P. perplexus. Both species are so similar that P. perplexus has long been considered a synonym of P. carolina.

 
Good enough for me
I think this is worth moving to a guide page with notes referring to your comments. Many things are not 100 percent sure from photos anyway, and it seems like making some plausible identifications based on habitat, etc., is useful.

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

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