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Species Dolichovespula arctica - Parasitic Aerial Yellowjacket

Dolichovespula arctica WaspIMG_4319 - Dolichovespula arctica - male Blackjacket? - Dolichovespula arctica Vespula consobrina? - Dolichovespula arctica Vespula consobrina? - Dolichovespula arctica Dolichovespula arctica Vespula consobrina? - Dolichovespula arctica Vespula consobrina? - Dolichovespula arctica
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
Family Vespidae
Subfamily Vespinae (Hornets and Yellowjackets)
Genus Dolichovespula (Aerial Yellowjackets)
Species arctica (Parasitic Aerial Yellowjacket)
Other Common Names
Parasitic Yellowjacket
Parasitic Hornet
Parasitic Blackjacket
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Reinstated from synonymy with the Palaearctic D. adulterina in(1)
Explanation of Names
Dolichovespula arctica (Rohwer, 1916)
Queens 18 mm; males 15 mm
Queen (♀♀) Male (♂)
transcontinental in the north, LB-AK south to GA, AZ, & CA; absent for much of the Midwest(1)
Life Cycle
A social parasite of D. arenaria and D. norvegicoides that thus has no worker caste, with the larvae instead being reared by the workers of the host species.
See Also
D. arctica is one of 5 black and white/ivory yellowjackets. One of these, D. maculata, has an entirely black 2nd tergite and thus can be readily separated from all other species. Another 2, D. albida and Vespula intermedia have reddish patches laterally on the tergites, which are absent in all other species. The species most easily confused with D. arctica is V. consobrina.

In D. arctica, the pale posterior bands are almost interrupted in the midline by extensions from the black anterior bands whereas in V. consobrina there is no such extension. Also, queens of V. consobrina have pure black antennae, while queens of D. arctica have the 1st antennal segment extensively yellow. In both queens and males, there is a big difference in the width of the oculo-malar gap between the 2 species: wide in Parasitic (it's in the genus Dolichovespula) and narrow in the Blackjacket (a Vespula).
Queen (♀♀) Worker (♀) Male (♂)

Queen (♀♀) Worker (♀) Male (♂)

The black space between the upper white spot on the temple and the lower white spot on the gena is larger in D. albida, with the queens having this space larger than the lower spot. The lower spot is often very small to lacking in D. albida. The clypeus of D. albida has an larger, complete black stripe running down the length whereas D. arctica has this stripe incomplete and generally restricted to the lower portion. The ivory markings on the pronotum of D. albida consist only of a straight, linear stripe without the extension at the anterior found in D. arctica. The abdomen of D. albida queens have the markings on the urotergites as simpler stripes with additional lateral lobes on the first 2 tergies typical in D. albida but absent in D. arctica. Thus, the markings of D. albida are more akin to those of D. norvegicoides, except for being ivory instead of yellow. In males, the head and thorax of albida are covered in denser, longer, entirely black hairs. The legs of albida have less white than those of D. arctica and have an additional reddish tinge on at least the femora.
Queen (♀♀) Worker (♀) Male (♂)

Queen (♀♀) Worker (♀) Male (♂)
Internet References
Species page (as D. adulterina)(2)
Works Cited
1.The Vespinae of North America (Vespidae, Hymenoptera)
L.S. Kimsey and J.M. Carpenter. 2012. Journal of Hymenoptera Research Vol. 28: 37–65.
2.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].