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 of 2018 gathering

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

Looking for info on South American hornets

Does anybody know of any good sources to find information about Vespa species that occur in South America? I think there are a few spp. but I cannot seem to find any information whatsoever


Keep in mind that Central and South America has its own types of wasps similar to hornets and yellow jackets. When I was on a trip to Guatemala. I came across numerous wasp nests that were extremely large in some cases and they had huge paper envelopes covering their nests.

There were many different species, I avoided the huge ones. However I made a very bad mistake stumbling upon a nest that was about the size of a grape fruit and looked like an aerial yellow jacket nest. Its inhabitants were very small jet black wasps that didn't look like polistes or Vespa, it had its own look. I got close to take a picture and it was a very bad mistake. They came swarming upon me and stung me numerous times and their sting was much worse than I would expect from a wasp so small. There were a much larger number of these in the nest than I expected too for a grape-fruit sized paper envelope nest because they were so small.

I saw nests of the same species as big as 6 to 8 ft tall and 4 feet wide. A nest that big with wasps as small as they were would have to contain at least 50000 members. A nest that big could very dangerous.

They have quite a diversity of their own
My project entails only the subfamily of Vespinae, however. Most of South America's social wasp diversity occurs in the subfamily of Polistinae. Here is a helpful lineup from a good friend of mine:

Neotropical Polistinae
Too bad that you don't deal with Polistinae. My favorite one is Polybia. They make paper nests and their honey is delicious, unusual for wasps. The paper you linked to claims that they are tropical, but they live in Cordoba, Argentina and other temperate places. Here are a couple of links: 1 and 2. Perhaps different species.
Another Polistinae that makes honey is Brachygastra. I have no experience with that one.

I simply couldn't fit such a wide variety of wasps
into a 10 page paper at the max. I would absolutely love to get to study the tropical species of Polistinae though. They fascinate and bewilder me. Maybe some day...

Vespa does not occur in SA
I'm not aware of any records of Vespa in South America. It is an entirely Old World genus with V. crabro being invasive in North America.

I know there are several native Vespula species in Central America and possibly Northern South America, as well as a few invasive species from North America that are in South America.

I could swear I found some videos on youtube of a Vespa in SA, but it would appear not. Thanks for your help

The only Vespula species that I could find out for sure occurs in SA is V. germanica of course. There is not good documentation of species from this area of the world!

The Portuguese word for wasp is "vespa"

Here's a recent paper
describing a new species of Vespula from Central America. Check out the bottom of pg. 66 for a list of all Central American Vespula.


That is exactly what I was searching for. I don't know why my searches didn't turn this up.

I love how V. akrei was named after R.D. Akre!

And I also did not know that V. maculifrons was found in Mexico. Thanks again, this will be very useful in my paper. It even contains a phylogenic tree of the species used in the study, which will also be very useful

Happy to help!
Let me know if you're looking for anything else.

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