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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Subclassis: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Infraclassis: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Hymenopterida
Ordo: Hymenoptera
Subordo: Apocrita
Superfamilia: Vespoidea

Familia: Vespidae
Subfamilia: Vespinae
Genus: Vespula
Subgenera (2): Paravespula – Vespula
Overview of species (26)

V. acadica – V. alascensis – V. arisana – V. atropilosa – V. austriaca – V. consobrina – V. flaviceps – V. flavopilosa – V. germanica – V. inexspectata – V. ingrica – V. kingdonwardi – V. koreensis – V. maculifrons – V. nursei – V. orbata – V. pensylvanicaV. rufa – V. shidai – V. squamosa – V. structor – V. sulphurea – V. vidua – V. vulgaris – V. yichunensis – V. yunlongensis

[Source: Catalogue of Life: 2014 Annual Checklist, minus (4) V. gongshanensis – V. nujiangensis – V. rufosignata – V. yulongensis

Add (1): V. akrei

Vespula Thomson, 1869: 79

Type species: Vespa austriaca Panzer, 1799 by subsequent designation, see Ashmead, W.H. 1902: Classification of the fossorial, predaceous and parasitic wasps, or the superfamily Vespoidea. Canadian entomologist, 34(7): 163–166. [164]


Carpenter, J.M., Dvořák, L., Kojima, J.-I., Nguyen, L.T.P., Perrard, A. & Pickett, K.M. 2011. Taxonomic notes on the Vespinae of Yunnan (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). American Museum novitates (3709) DOI: 10.1206/3709.2 Reference page.
Miller, C.D.F. 1961: Taxonomy and distribution of Nearctic Vespula. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada 93(Supplement 22) DOI: 10.4039/entm9322fv Full article (PDF) on Reference page.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Wespen
English: Yellowjackets
français: Guêpes
日本語: クロスズメバチ属
Plattdüütsch: Wöpsen (Münsterland); Wispels (Ostfriesland); Wipsen (ehem. Vest Recklinghausen)
polski: osa
davvisámegiella: jordgeting

Vespula is a small genus of social wasps, widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere. Along with members of their sister genus Dolichovespula, they are collectively known by the common name yellowjackets (or yellow jackets) in North America. Vespula species have a shorter oculomalar space (shown in the figure below right) and a more pronounced tendency to nest underground than Dolichovespula.

Notable species

Two common European species, the German wasp (Vespula germanica) and the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris), have established in other countries: both species are now found in New Zealand, Australia and South America, while the former has also been introduced in North America, and the latter in southern Africa.
The eastern yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) and western yellowjacket (Vespula pensylvanica) are native to North America.

Illustration showing oculomalar space

Vespula acadica (Sladen, 1918) – forest yellowjacket[2]
Vespula alascensis Packard, 1870 – common yellowjacket[2]
Vespula arisana (Sonan, 1929)
Vespula atropilosa (Sladen, 1918) – prairie yellowjacket[2]
Vespula austriaca (Panzer, 1799) – red cuckoo wasp
Vespula consobrina (Saussure, 1854) – blackjacket[2]
Vespula flaviceps (Smith, 1870)
Vespula flavopilosa Jacobson, 1978 – downy yellowjacket[3][2]
Vespula germanica (Fabricius, 1793) – German wasp, German yellowjacket[2]
Vespula inexspectata Eck, 1991
Vespula infernalis (Saussure, 1854) – cuckoo yellowjacket[2]
Vespula ingrica Birula, 1931
Vespula intermedia (Buysson, 1904–05) – northern red-banded yellowjacket[2]
Vespula kingdonwardi Archer, 1981
Vespula koreensis (Rad., 1887)
Vespula maculifrons (Buysson, 1905) – eastern yellowjacket
Vespula nursei (Archer, 1981)
Vespula orbata (Buysson 1902)
Vespula orientalis (Linnaeus, 1771) - oriental hornet
Vespula pensylvanica (Saussure, 1857) – western yellowjacket[2]
Vespula rufa (Linnaeus, 1758) – red wasp
Vespula rufosignata (Eck, 1998)
Vespula shidai (Ish., Yam., Wagn., 1980)
Vespula squamosa (Drury, 1770) – southern yellowjacket
Vespula structor (Smith, 1870)
Vespula sulphurea (Saussure, 1854) – California yellowjacket[2]
Vespula vidua (Saussure, 1854)[2]
Vespula vulgaris (Linnaeus, 1758) – common wasp

See also:

Paravespula, a subgenus of Vespula


Mostly composed of antigen 5, hyaluronidase, and phospholipase.[King et al 1983 1]​

There is a high degree of similarity between immunogenic fractions of different Vespulae.[King et al 1983 2]​[King et al 1983 3]​ Rabbit serum is unable to distinguish between them.[King et al 1983 2]​[King et al 1983 3]​

James M. Carpenter & Jun-ichi Kojima (1997). "Checklist of the species in the subfamily Vespinae (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Vespidae)" (PDF). Natural History Bulletin of Ibaraki University. 1: 51–92.
Vespula, BugGuide

Jacobson, R. S.; Matthews, R. W.; Macdonald, J. F. (1978-05-15). "A Systematic Study of the Vespula vulgaris Group with a Description of a New Yellowjacket Species in Eastern North America (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)1". Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 71 (3): 299–312. doi:10.1093/aesa/71.3.299. ISSN 0013-8746.

King, T.P.; Alagon, A.C.; Kuan, J.; Sobotka, A.K.; Lichtenstein, L.M. (1983). "Immunochemical studies of yellowjacket venom proteins". Molecular Immunology. Elsevier BV. 20 (3): 297–308. doi:10.1016/0161-5890(83)90069-x. ISSN 0161-5890.

p. 306, "Yellowjacket venom consists mainly of three proteins: antigen 5, hyaluronidase, and phospholipase."
p. 307, "The venom phospholipases isolated from the three species of yellowjackets in this report were found to be immunochemically indistinguishable from each other using sera from rabbits immunized with venom from a single species of yellowjacket. Similar findings were obtained with antigen 5."
p. 304, "Identical concentrations of phospholipase-specific antibodies were obtained with immunosorbents containing phospholipase from any of the three species of yellowjackets. This was also the case for antigen 5-specific antibodies. ... The above results indicate that antigen 5s as well as phospholipases from these three species of yellowjackets are antigenically indistinguishable. The findings were confirmed by immunodiffusion. Lines of identity were observed when antigen 5s, or phospholipases, from the three species of yellowjackets were tested with rabbit anti-serum specific for V. maculifrons venom (results not shown)."

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