08 March 2013

worth keeping an eye out for

After a visit to Cardiff Museum I finally have confidence in the identification of this wasp as Dolichovespula saxonica, bottom 2 pictures, an individual from a moth trap based in Rotherslade in 2012. I have the specimen. The top photograph is also one from my own garden in Tycoch also from a moth trap but the year before, 2011.

Why is it that species?

1. Long space between bottom of eye and jaws = Dolichovespula
2. Dark mark in middle of face and widely spaced punctures of face, not visible in photograph, = NOT sylvestris (common).
3. Hairs on side of thorax all pale and no red on abdomen = NOT norvegica.

First records I know of from Gower. Mark Pavett says he's had it in Cardiff. Anyone know of any other records?


Valley Naturalist said...

Have a voucher specimen of this species from Llandegfedd Reservoir, near Pontypool. Nesting in one of the bird hides.

Steve Williams


Charles Hipkin said...

Great photos Ian.

Mark Hipkin said...

Very nice post Ian. The photos are stunning. I was hoping to get to grips with the social wasp group a bit better last year, but in the end I saw very few indeed. This post has given me a bit more encouragement to try again this year. Chinery suggest (broadly) 6 common species and 3 less common, including Hornet and D. saxonica, are possible from the area. Hornets are being seen fairly frequently and Steve's, Mark's and your records show it's well worth looking out for D. saxonica. A nice small group to get to know well.

Barry Stewart said...

Mark, there's a very good key to these in 'British Wildlife', but can't remember which issue, but note the dichotomy of the bit above the mandible (there's a technical term for this I can't remember) is the wrong way round. There's also this useful page and no doubt much more on line http://bio.kuleuven.be/ento/courses/waspsp2600dpi.pdf

Barry Stewart said...

PS. I picked a dying female D. saxonica at Paul Llewellyn's Manselfield on 12 June 2001, which I may have a photograph of somewhere, but it wont be as good as Ian's.

gareth thomas said...

Nice pix
I had a nest of these in my bike-shed about 3 years back, in Ludlow Shrops (bit out of area I know)
Did a whole series of photos then of the nest-building process.
The nest was very attractive with many colours of wood-paper. It was about small football size and suspended from the roof. I had to squeeze past it to get my bike every day.
Unlike Vesp vulgaris, they are not primarily aggressive and never bothered me. I would never have left a common wasp nest to survive in that location. They are savage and do not need any excuse to attack.

i.f.tew said...

Interesting records, sure there'll be a lot more. Sorry guys I meant to put this in but, as usual, things got a bit busy elsewhere.

Else, G. R., (1994) Social Wasps British Wildlife, Volume 5, pp 304-311.

This is pretty good as well:


Space between the eyes and mandible is called the malar space. I am not a fan of bumbing down, why not learn the proper word and be done with it?

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