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Polistes africanus Palisot de Beauvais

(Life: Kingdom: Metazoa (animals); Phylum: Arthropoda; Class: Hexapoda; Order: Hymenoptera; Superfamily: Vespoidea; Family: Vespidae; Subfamily: Polistinae; Genus: Polistes)

Polistes africanus Palisot de Beauvais, 1818. Holotype Type Locality:


Polistes africanus fallen as prey to the robber fly Hyperechia bifasciata (a Carpenter bee mimic) with little Jackal flies (Family Milichiidae) in attendance. These flies hang around predators and scavenge on body juices that leak from the prey. Interaction photographed by Vida van der Walt in Pretoria.

Polistes africanus fallen as prey to a crab spider Mystaria rufolimbata (Thomisidae).  Photographs © Desiré Pelser (Kloof, Durban).

Polistes africanus photograph © Johan van Niekerk.


Cameroon, Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, São Tomé, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa (Kwazulu-Natal, Western Cape), Tanzania, Zanzibar.


This species is similar to P. madiburensis, but only has posterior pale bands on tergites 1 and 2, whereas P. madiburensis has bands only on tergites 1 and 3.


Social, constructing communal paper nests. Larvae are fed on chewed-up, soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars.


Bequaert, J.C. 1918. A revision of the Vespidae of the Belgian Congo based on the collection of the American Museum Congo Expedition: with a list of Ethiopian diplopterous wasps. Bulletin of the AMNH 39: 1-384.


Photographs © Vida van der Walt (Pretoria) or © Desiré Pelser (Kloof, Durban).

Web author Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum)


Citation: van Noort, S. 2024. WaspWeb: Hymenoptera of the World. URL: www.waspweb.org (accessed on <day/month/year>).

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