Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimen Records: 2472
Specimens with Sequences: 1897
Specimens with Barcodes: 1708
Species With Barcodes: 230
Public Records: 609
Public Species: 141
Public BINs: 115
The Polistinae are eusocial wasps closely related to the more familiar yellowjackets, but placed in their own subfamily, containing four tribes; with some 1100 species total, it is the second most diverse subfamily within Vespidae, and while most species are tropical or subtropical, they include some of the most frequently-encountered large wasps in temperate regions. They are also known as paper wasps, which is a misleading term since other wasps (including yellowjackets) also build nests out of paper, and because some Epiponine wasps (e.g., Polybia emaciata) build theirs out of mud , nonetheless, the name "paper wasp" seems to apply mostly, but not exclusively, to the Polistinae, especially the Polistini. The brood cells are arranged in a hexagonal array, similar to the comb structure in a honey bee nest. At least one Epiponine species (Brachygastra mellifica) stores honey in the comb, one of the only insects other than bees to store honey.
Characteristics of Polistinae are:
- The queens (reproductive females) are morphologically similar to workers, though sometimes slightly larger or differently colored.
- The abdomen is spindle-shaped, often petiolate.
- The antennae of males are curled.
- The nest is sometimes open (the nests of vespines are typically enclosed in several layers of paper).
Colony life cycle[edit source | edit]
Polistine wasps found colonies in one of two ways. In some species, nests are founded by a small number of reproductive females, possibly a single one. One of the foundresses eventually acquires dominance over the other and is the sole reproducer. The nest is open (not enclosed by an envelope) and contains a single comb.
In the other group, called "swarm-founding", the nest is founded by a large number of workers and a few queens. It is usually protected by an envelope, like a vespine nest.
Selected species of Polistinae[edit source | edit]
- Genus Polistes
- Genus Mischocyttarus
- M. collarellus
- M. flavitarsis
- M. labiatus
- Genus Synoeca
- S. cyanea
- S. chalybea
- S. septentrionalis
- S. surinama
- S. virginea
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