Unknown Wasp in North Los Angeles.
Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 9:25 AM
Dear What’sthatbug,
I’ve been a big fan of your site for ages.
I found this little wasp in Tujunga, far northern Los Angeles, CA. during mid/late summer.
It’s a small / med sized wasp. When I found it it was sitting on a twig, munching on the twig, or maybe eating something off of it. But I couldn’t see that he was actually eating the twig itself. These are quite common there but even after looking through all 15 wasp pages in your site and googleing a million things I could not find a name for this little guy/girl.
I hope you can Identify it, I’m pretty much obsessed with all living creatures and I’m dieing to know what kind of wasp this is so i can do some research on it. Thanks a bunch!! Love your site!!
Nitsan S.
Tujunga, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Golden Paper Wasp

Golden Paper Wasp

Dear Nitsan,
Despite going global with the world wide web, we still have a nostalgia for our humble local photocopied zine of origin, when most of our identifications were from the Los Angeles area. This is a Paper Wasp, Polistes aurifer according to BugGuide, or a subspecies, Polisted fuscatus aurifer according to Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin. Wasps from this family chew bark and wood pulp into a papery substance for the production of the nest.

Update:
Fri, 20 Feb 2009 12:26:19 -0800 (PST)
Hi, Daniel:
Just an added note to the “golden paper wasp” post….The specimen is a male.  I can tell by the ‘square,’ yellow face (females have triangular, darker faces) and the long antennae, curled at the tip (females have shorter, uncurled antennae).
Eric

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