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European paper wasp

Scientific Name
Polistes dominula
Scientific Author
(Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Polistinae: Polistini)
Exotic Species Outbreak in Australia

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Diagnostic Notes

Typical Polistes (ie. black and yellow stripes along the body) however can be distinguished from all other Vespidar by the possession of the mostly orange antennae.

The Yellow paperwasp is slightly longer than a honeybee (15 mm long) and the body is more slender with a distinctly narrow waist section. The abdomen also tapers more gradually to a point compared to a honeybee.The main characteristic of this wasp is that it is yellow and black. In this respect it closely resembles the European wasp. The main differences between the yellow paperwasp and the European wasp are the more slender body of the paperwasp and the way in which the longer hind legs of the paperwasp noticeably hang down or trail during flight. Paperwasps fly relatively slowly and hover when patrolling an area, while European wasps fly very swiftly. If a specimen is captured, these wasps can be easily distinguished on the basis of the colour of their antennae (feelers) which are situated on the head. The antennae of paperwasps are orange-brown in colour and only black at the base while those of the European wasp are totally black.

The yellow paperwasp was introduced from overseas and was first found in Western Australia at Fremantle in 1977. Since then it has become established throughout the metropolitan area and often appears to be more numerous than the common paperwasp. It can be expected to spread into other areas.


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More Information
Walker, K.
28/01/2007 05:52 AEST
Last Updated
08/03/2012 12:43 AEST
Walker, K. (2007) European paper wasp (Polistes dominula) Updated on 3/8/2012 12:43:46 PM Available online: PaDIL -
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