Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 BugGuide Gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

Is this a Polistes exclamans? - Polistes dorsalis - female

Is this a Polistes exclamans? - Polistes dorsalis - Female
Lakeland, Polk County, Florida, USA
April 8, 2006
Size: 22 mm
One of my monarchs had just eclosed from its chrysalis. I photographed the process. I took the butterfly outside to put on my milkweeds when I found this wasp eating one of my monarch caterpillars! Such is the plight of the lowly caterpillar.

Moved from Polistes dorsalis.

Moved from Polistes.

Polistes dorsalis, female (FL)
Having had the opportunity recently to study P. bahamensis from the southeastern U.S. for the first time I can now decide this mistery. This is in fact P. dorsalis. Polistes bahamensis has darker hind tibiae and a conspicuously orange tip of the flagellum (contrasting with a black mid section). It also usually has four yellow stripes on the propodeum (lateral ones would be visible in this view).

Polistes bahamensis?, female
This is an intriguing specimen. It is not exclamans as suggested. The specimen is too dark: exclamans should have yellow spots on the lower mesopleuron, the sides of the propodeum (i.e. propodeum with 4 yellow stripes in total) and yellow bands on the posterior terga (missing here on T5 and T6). The colour pattern is consistent with both P. dorsalis and P. bahamensis (formerly considered a subspecies of exclamans). The relatively slender first metasomal segment (note the slight 'dip' on upper surface of tergum 1) suggests bahamensis. However, the flagellum should have the apical flagellomeres orange (contrasting with the median flagellomeres). This is the case at least in specimens from the Bahamas, which show a somewhat different coloration than U.S. specimens (species occurs from FL to LA). Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to examine specimens from the U.S. I therefore leave it open: either bahamensis or dorsalis.

very very nice
it is a Polistes for sure. Polistes are highly variable though. having said that there is a pretty could chance this is a P. exclamans

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.