Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Native New Mexico Paper Wasp
We found this beautiful wasp at Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge. There are a number of European wasps naturalized across N. America, but Polistes apachus is one of our natives. Thanks to some help from Bug Guide, I learned that the two yellow stripes on the dorsal surface of the thorax are diagnostic. (As a refresher, insects have 3 body parts: head, thorax and abdomen. Dorsal is the back side and ventral is the front side.) The cool weather kept the wasp very slow allowing for this picture. Adults feed primarily on nectar and other sugary solutions usually obtained from flowering plants.