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For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
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Photo#183807
Is this a Bald-faced Hornet - Vespula maculata? - Dolichovespula albida - female

Is this a Bald-faced Hornet - Vespula maculata? - Dolichovespula albida - Female
Calgary/Weaselhead flats, Alberta, Canada
May 15, 2008
I came upon this insect by accident while doing a close-up of a Pussy Willow flower. He literally almost filled my viewfinder. Unfortunately I was not able to get a head-on shot of the insect. I think it is a Bald-faced Hornet from its coloring but the white rings on his lower abdomen are rather thin compared to other pictures I have seen. Could someone please confirm my ID?

Images of this individual: tag all
Arctic Yellowjacket (Dolichovespula norwegica) queen - Dolichovespula albida - female Arctic Yellowjacket (Dolichovespula norwegica) queen - Dolichovespula albida - female Arctic Yellowjacket (Dolichovespula norwegica) queen - Dolichovespula albida - female Arctic Yellowjacket (Dolichovespula norwegica) queen - Dolichovespula albida - female Is this a Bald-faced Hornet - Vespula maculata? - Dolichovespula albida - female

No - but a MUCH better finding!
For this is actually a queen of the Arctic (aerial) Yellowjacket, Dolichovespula norwegica albida. This is the first live specimen in BG, for we had only a dry pinned worker provided by Dr Buck until now. Most reproductive females lack lateral red spots on T2.Thank your for sharing this pic! I ignored this subspecies of Old-World D. norwegica occured as far South as Calgary, but the Rockies have something to do with that.
By the way, current name of the Bald-faced Hornet is Dolichovespula maculata.

 
But this insect is definitely
But this insect is definitely black/white. I thought that Yellowjackets are black/yellow? I was confused by the size of the white rings though.

Thank you for your ID and correction to my Latin name.
Jim

 
Besides the Bald-Faced "Hornet"...
Four North-American Yellowjackets (and,for that matter, several Eastern Asian ones, especcially in Japan), have white or whitish, instead of yellow, color patterns.
Interestingly, the Western Palaearctic counterparts of V. rufa intermedia, D. norwegica albida and D. adulterina arctica have yellow patterns.

 
More pictures of Artic Yellowjacket queen
Hi...just to let you know, I posted 4 more pictures of this insect. They were not as bad as I first thought. :-)

I will try to link them all together.

 
Cropping, frassing
I suggest cropping tightly the 3rd or 4th image so the insect shows better and frassing the other one.
In fact, some of the others could also use a little cropping.

 
Thank you very much
I think at least 1rst, 2nd and 5th images of the row are worth keeping.
Maybe editors will frass 3rd and 4th, but it doesn't matter, since the three big sized ones show well the decisive features of this species vs otherwise similar D. norvegicoides and D. adulterina.

 
I have looked at the pictures
I have looked at the pictures I took during this shoot and I have about 4 others worth showing but no good face shot. I am kind busy right now but I'll post them before the day is out.

No - but a MUCH better finding!
Unvoluntarily duplicated - sorry. On the other hand, saying this twice is maybe not so dumb :-).

 
I went back this year
Just a comment that I went back to the same location where I shot this photo...this year...one year later. It was late in summer and I was just out for a hike. I did not have my camera with me unfortunately but I did see a specimen of this arctic yellowjacket. It looks as though they successfully survived the winter. Next year I will seriously try for more photos.