Campari Wasps

On July 26, I spotted this wasp at the pollinator-madness of the trumpet vine flowers. Put it up on iNaturalist and bumpkiss resulted.
I added four more observations up to last week, when an Italian wasp enthusiast wondered if it was Eumenes mediterraneus. It wouldn’t be the first wasp that’s made its way over: the European Tube Wasp, European Paper Wasp, and European Hornet, all found here in Brooklyn, testify to their origins. But, I noted that there were no observations of E. mediterraneus in North America on iNaturalist or
Soon wasp experts from Croatia and Canada were looking over the photos. Turns out there are some two dozen iNaturalist observations in NYC and nearby NJ that seemed to be this same species. The earliest is from 2018. The observations really increase this year. The wasp-mavens wanted to take a look at one.
I woke up to read all this on Saturday morning. Seemed rather cool for wasps, but by mid-day I’d gotten permission from Green-Wood Cemetery to capture one or two as a sample. Green-Wood is private property and it’s only proper that they be asked.
I don’t have a net, so a used a jam jar, which worked very well, and froze it over night.This macro photography, an attachment to a phone, is really annoying because the depth of field is so narrow and the slightest movement…
Based on these photos, the Croatian hymenopterist declared it was, in fact Eumenes mediterraneus. The long hairs behind the eye, the orange tips to the antenna are some the ID marks.

Why “Campari wasps”? Well, I’m a gin and tonic WASP, but when in Rome…

UPDATE 10/22/20: I mailed this specimen to wasp maven Matthias Buck at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton. He has keyed it out and confirmed that it’s a female Eumenes mediterraneus. The specimen has now entered the collection there.

This has been an instructive use of iNaturalist to connect professionals and amateurs around the world and help to document the spread of introduced species.

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