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Wasp - Pseudomasaris edwardsii

Wasp - Pseudomasaris edwardsii
Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Orange County, California, USA
May 23, 2009
Size: 2-3cm
Perhaps Vespula, but I can't find anything that's an exact match.

Images of this individual: tag all
Wasp - Pseudomasaris edwardsii Wasp - Pseudomasaris edwardsii

Moved from Pseudomasaris.
I'm 99% sure this is P. edwardsii, though I can't see all of the diagnostic characters. The propodeal spine looks right, so do the yellow markings which are pretty much constant in extent in this sp.
The size of this wasp must certainly be smaller than "2-3cm". The flower looks like P. cicutaria var. hispida, or Phacelia ramosissima, both of which occur at Laguna. Based on what I know about the size of those flowers & their stamens I'd guess at a length of 12mm to at most 14mm for this pollen wasp.
Oh, try to find some males next spring. Though they're not as numerous as the females, you can detect them by their busy flight pattern & long, spectacularly clubbed antennae:

Female "pollen wasp"
Female in the genus Pseudomasaris. Wow, I can't get them to stand still here in AZ! Great images.

Perhaps edwardsii, then. What
Perhaps edwardsii, then. What clues you in that this is a female?

short antennae

OK. Short antenna = female. H
OK. Short antenna = female. How broad is that? All wasps? All hymenopterans? All Vespids?

Not always.
The distinction is just incredibly dramatic in this genus! Moved to genus page. I have a key back home in Tucson, so if no one makes a species determination by January, let me know and I'll run your images through it.

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