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For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Photo#15936
Queen of the Yellow-Haired Yellowjacket - Vespula flavopilosa - female

Queen of the Yellow-Haired Yellowjacket - Vespula flavopilosa - Female
Harvard, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA
July 16, 2004
Dolichovespula arenaria

Queen of the Yellow-haired Yellowjacket - Vespula flavopilosa
Damn it!
First, a male from Indiana misidentified as a V. pensylvanica elsewhere in this guide, and now a queen misidentified as a D. arenaria...
It realy seems that this unlucky V. flavopilosa is doomed to be ignored by the photographers of this guide!
But yet, the mere fact that the antennal scapus is all black excludes any Dolichovespula species - fortunately this time, we have a female, not a male.
Of course, there are still many other differences, as you will see as soon as a "true" D. arenaria queen seen from above is available (which should happen this spring, given the tempo this site is growing, thanks to people like yourself by the way).
Once again, just like for the male from Indiana, the very close relationship between V. flavopilosa and V. vulgaris (and to a lesser degree V. maculifrons) appears quite strikingly on this picture. The only reliable differences are:
- the very straight black stripes between frons and ocular sinuses-
- the two small yellow spots on the mesoscutum, just like some southern V. maculifrons queens.
- the rounded, not acuminated, median angle of the basal black stripe on the first urotergite - which lacks the small yellow stripes in front,typical of V. maculifrons.
After all, what matters for me is to see such good pictures of this rare species, very difficult to find elsewhere on the web. Now, I'm waiting for a worker...
The date could seem very late for a "spring" queen. But it must be remembered that this species is especally late-flying, often founding its colonies by parasitizing V. maculifrons. It's another matter with D. arenaria, an early species from which hardly any spring queen is still on the wing in midsummer.

 
Clarification, please.
I identified this as D. arenaria. I am going largely from memory of what I learned in Akre's book on North American Vespinae. Have there been substantial changes? I don't recall this species (V. flavopilosa) from his book. Please post a reply to this on the Photo Focus forum on yellowjackets if you would. Thank you.