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Polistes? - Polistes bellicosus - male

Polistes? - Polistes bellicosus - Male
Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida, USA
October 5, 2005
Size: 20mm
These are plentiful in my yard but rarely sit still - caught this one after a rainstorm, hence the bluish tinge (low light). Is it Polistes exclamans (Eric?)?

Images of this individual: tag all
Polistes? - Polistes bellicosus - male Polistes? - Polistes bellicosus - male


Polistes bellicosus, probably
I am revisiting this image one more time after I have had the opportunity to study males of the some of the southeastern Polistes species. When I commented on this image previously I had never seen the male of bellicosus, which has much more extensive black markings on the mesosoma than the female. This makes it very similar to P. fuscatus. What differentiates the two is that in P. fuscatus the apical flagellomeres are all dark (yellow/orange anteriorly and ventrally in P. bellicosus), a newly discovered character that has not been mentioned previously in the literature known to me. The colour of the apical flagellomeres is hard to see on this image but it looks like we have P. bellicosus here.

Moved from Polistes dorsalis.

Correction: P. fuscatus
I have to correct my previous ID. I did not notice the large size of this specimen (thankfully mentioned by the photographer: 20 mm), which makes this more likely a P. fuscatus. Except for the size there are very few good characters that separate P. fuscatus and P. dorsalis. In females the tip of the antenna is paler dorsally than the preapical segments (see photo 43695; about same colour in P. fuscatus). I have not tested this character rigorously but it appears to work fine.

Polistes dorsalis
This is a male of P. dorsalis. P. exclamans has a more slender metasomal tergum 1 (less convex in side view) and has more abundant yellow markings.

Polistes sp. male - not exclamans
Despite a similar coloration, this male belongs to a different species, whose other pictures in this Guide are available. Most, if not all, of them come also from Florida, indicating a southern, warmth loving species. This could help a future ID to the species level.

Thanks, Richard
I wonder can you explain what rules out exclamans?

I will move to genus level for now.

It's not so easy to explain in a simple way, but if nothing else,
P. exclamans has a much more developped yellow coloration, especially so on the sides of the thorax and in the male gender. Also the antennae are longer and thinner in proportion.

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