Wild Florida Photo - Polistes dorsalis - Lesser paper wasp

Polistes dorsalis

Lesser paper wasp
Hunter's little paper wasp

Florida native

Volusia Co. FL 05/30/20
Volusia Co. FL 05/30/20
Volusia Co. FL 05/30/20

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This paper wasp can be found throughout Florida. The range extends across the southern United States, into Mexico, Central America and the Bahamas.
One of the smaller paper wasps, Polistes dorsalis is the smallest species of the genus in the US. There is some yellow on the lower portion (Clypeus) of the face. The body is black to dark brown with yellow markings. The thorax has some black markings and one or two thin yellow lines on the sides and the rear portion of the thorax (Propodeum) has two yellow stripes. In this species the black markings on the hind femora completely circle the leg, whereas this ring is interrupted on other species. The antenna are dull orange-brown with darker areas.
There are two subspecies - P. dorsalis californicus, limited to Califronia and P. dorsalis neotropicus, found mostly in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.


Polistes dorsalis is a member of the Vespidae - Yellowjackets, Hornets and some Wasps family.

Other species of the Polistes genus in the Wild Florida Photo database:
  Polistes major - LARGE PAPER WASP

For more information on this species, visit the following link:
BugGuide.net page for this species

Date record last modified: Nov 12, 2020

Paul Rebmann Nature Photography at pixels.com