Blackjacket Vespula consobrina (de Saussure, 1854)    
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Arthropoda   >   Class Insecta   >   Order Hymenoptera   >   Family Vespidae   >   Genus Vespula   


A northern species, probably limited in occurrence to western Maryland. Vespula consobrina is a member of the Vespula rufa species group, which develop much smaller colonies than the ubiquitous V. vulgaris group. Like its close relatives, it is strictly predatory, and doesn't scavenge on dead animals or garbage, so it isn't normally a nuisance. The species has somewhat of a reputation for being aggressive if a nest is disturbed.


This black and ivory species of yellowjacket is similar to Dolichovespula arctica, especially males. It can be distinguished by short oculomalar distance (space between mandible insertion and bottom of eye), dorsal pale fasciae of most abdominal tergites not broken or deeply cleft medially by black, and lack of a pronotal carina. (Buck et al. 2008)

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Blackjacket in Tioga Co., Pennsylvania (8/18/2013). Photo by Ben Coulter. (MBP list)

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