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Wasp IDs

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Offline parthenope

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« on: January 18, 2010, 21:27 PM »
Hi all,
I was wondering if any of you clever people out there in  :sign: land could help with some IDs for the three social wasp photos attached.
Each one is a different individual taken at a different time & in a different place (in Cornwall & Somerset) so there may be three species, or they might all be the same species. The problem is that I didn't include any details of the face so I'm guessing that makes it very difficult to identify them down to species. Any help gratefully received.
Thanks
Steve 
Cornish Nature, a work in progress
Dragonflies, images and studies of nature from near and afar
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Offline andyj

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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2010, 18:57 PM »
hi steve,
You've not made it easy by not getting the face! ;)... For those who've not the faintest what we are gibbering on about.... you can ID wasps fairly reliably just from a good pic of the face. In particular the central, black facial stripe, which is a different shape in the different species. There are only 4 species of Vespula in Europe and Im fairly sure they are all found in spain. May be worth sticking this thread into the insects section as they are applicable to spain.

First one is the german wasp (Vesula germanica)
the second and third are the red wasp (Vespula rufa)

It is easier with the face but can be done by other features such as abdomenal patterns, colour, antennae and general jizz.

Andy



andy


Offline parthenope

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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2010, 19:23 PM »
Well done Andy, the man from Wombourne does it again! :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:

I didn't want to make it too easy for you by showing the face! Any specific clues about which features swung it for the two species involved?

Thanks again for your help

Much appreciated
Steve
Cornish Nature, a work in progress
Dragonflies, images and studies of nature from near and afar
www.cornishnature.co.uk

Offline andyj

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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2010, 19:58 PM »
steve,

german wasp - strong heavy black markings  on abdomen including the broad central line.  Abdomen is quite broad as well. Sturdy looking wasp.

Red wasp - second image - if you look closely you can just make at a peachy/orange hue to the top of the lateral margins of the abdomenal segments (tergites)

red wasp - third image - reddish splodges on the first and second tergites. The red wasp is fairly delicate looking for a wasp and not often as big as many of the other wasps. The degree of red can go from hardly anything to quite a lot, but is always there. You may have to look quite hard to see it as with your second image.

One to watch out for is Dolichovespula media (the median wasp). BIG wasp that looks like a hornet but got more black on it. Quite aggressive so dont get too close! It is spreading quite well in recent yeasr so you should pick it up in cornwall.

A good time to look and photo wasps is in May when they are preoccupied with nest construction. Just look for wooden fences and gates in sunny, sheltered conditions. You can sometimes get 3-4 species at a time in these situations chewing wood to make the paper for the nests.

Good luck for the new season

Andy

Offline parthenope

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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2010, 20:09 PM »
Hi Andy,

Thanks ever so much for the extra detail, good tips to bear in mind. In photo number 2 the Red Wasp is actually chewing on a wooden fence at Great Westhay on the Somerset Levels. I will keep my eyes peeled for Dolichovespula media.

Thanks again for being so thorough.
Regards
Steve
Cornish Nature, a work in progress
Dragonflies, images and studies of nature from near and afar
www.cornishnature.co.uk

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2010, 16:01 PM »
Greetings All,
Thanks for those pics & ID tips. Very interesting.

Re. Andy's "A good time to look and photo wasps is in May when they are preoccupied with nest construction." is that GMT, ie. I s'pose here on the Ib. Pen. we should anticipate it by a couple of weeks? Will keep an eye out. Took loads of pics last year of a sort of mini-wasp - literally half the size, at most, of a "normal" wasp - that was building a small nest. I'd never seen 'em before & wanted to upload them for expert commentary - but have misplaced the file.

Must-sort-out-me-digital-files-one-of-these-days regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline andyj

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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 17:33 PM »
Sorry, should have qualified the statement. In Iberia (particularly the south) peak time for this activity is likely to be a month earlier (April).
Cheers
Andy