sl7246's picture


Observed: 19th March 2010 By: sl7246sl7246’s reputation in Invertebratessl7246’s reputation in Invertebrates
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It has six legs, two pairs of wings, no wing case, a pronounced waist and has a body which is about 17 mm long. It has three pairs of black dots on its yellow stripes on its abdomen, two pairs of yellow spots at the rere of the thorax and a black ‘anchor' pattern on the yellow of its face.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) interacts


Matt Smith's picture

ID's from the photo.

I've always looked to ID pictures on iSpot purely from what is shown in the Observation pictures, so I'll be a bit picky here about the ID notes above if I may.

Although "The anchor pattern on the face and the two pairs of yellow patches on the rere of its black thorax are suggestive" may well be indicators that a particular wasp is Vespula vulgaris, with the photographs posted here we can't actually see the face in any of the photos. Therefore, its not really helpful to people wishing to learn how to ID wasps to quote "standard" ID features if they can't be seen. Similarly, Vespula vulgaris is one of a number of species of wasp which have yellow patches on the rear of the thorax, so though it gives an indication it might be a particualr species it is not definative.

With this set of photos, we can see the wasp has a short malar space (the gap between the bottom of the eye and the top of the mandible). This means it is a Vespula, the malar space for Dolichovespula is large. It has pale hairs on tergite 1 of the abdomen that we can see if you look at the largest possible resolution - this leads either to V.vulgaris or the German Wasp V.germanica. Behind the eye, the yellow band of colour on the side of the head is interrupted by a black mark, the presence of this mark means it is indeed V.vugaris, not V.germanica.

So, I end up at the same ID as was posted, but get there by using only those things I can see in the photos, which is how we should be deriving IDs for iSpot.

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sl7246's picture


Matt, Immense thanks. Your comments are greatly appreciated. As a very recent beginner I need all the help I can get. One small point - I did include a photograph of the wasp's face but it would not up-load for some reason. Stephen Lalor

Martin Harvey's picture

ID information

Agree with Matt that it is great to have the ID features in the photo, but I would also say that if you have observed something about your subject that isn't shown in the photo it is useful to say so in the observation description (or in the comments for the identification). Additional field notes can be very helpful, and indeed the practice of taking careful field notes is well worth cultivating - I suspect it is a bit of a dying art now that digital photography has become so prevalent!

Entomologist and biological recorder