Galapagos Species Checklist

Brachygastra lecheguana (Latreille, 1824)

Black paper wasp, dark paper wasp

Wasp Nest (Brachygastra lecheguana (Latreille, 1824), Scalesia Forest behind Cerro Crocker, Galápagos. Photo: Frank Bungartz, CDF, 2007.
Wasp Nest (Brachygastra lecheguana (Latreille, 1824), Scalesia Forest behind Cerro Crocker, Galápagos. Photo: Frank Bungartz, CDF, 2007.

The black paper wasp is a predatory stinging insect of the order Hymenoptera distinguished by a compact black abdomen with small lateral yellow stripes. It forms small colonies and builds nests of 'paper' instead of wax, which they fill with stores of honey and use for several years (Hogue 1993). Paper wasps have a barbed stringer which can remain in the wounds of large animals or humans (Hogue 1993).

The Black Paper Wasp is a predatory stinging insect of the order Hymenoptera distinguished by a compact black abdomen with small lateral yellow stripes. It forms small colonies and builds nests of 'paper' instead of wax.

Taxonomy

Domain
Eukaryota

Kingdom
Animalia

Phylum
Arthropoda

Class
Insecta

Order
Hymenoptera

Suborder
Apocrita

Superfamily
Vespoidea

Family
Vespidae

Genus
Brachygastra

Species
lecheguana

Taxon category: Accepted

Ecology

Habitat preferences: Paper wasps thrive in all but the driest habitats by constructing a ovoid nest (40-50cm long when mature) with a circular or slit entrance, which can weigh several kilograms when filled up with honey (Hogue 1993). The colony has multiple queens (up to 17% of the hive), reaching numbers as high as 15,000 wasps (Hogue 1993).

Feeding type: Polyphagous

Feeding preferences: Generalist. Feeds on large numbers of butterfly and beetle larvae.

Trophic role: Carnivorous

Reproduction mode: Exclusively sexual

Distribution origin: Southern United States to Central America

Associated species in Galapagos: This species primarily disperses via active flight or on the tourism, fishing, and cargo transport that constantly travels within the archipelago.

Introduction

Introduction route: Accidentally introduced

Invasion risk score: Extreme risk

Impact elsewhere: Feeds on Leucoptera coffeella (Lepidoptera: Lyonetiidae), boll weevil pupae in cotton bolls.

Year of first record: 1994

Distribution

Distribution map of specimen collection localities or observation records for this species in our collections database.

Distribution: Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, original range from Southern United States to Central America.

References

  • Peck, S.B. Heraty, J., Landry, B. & Sinclair, B.J. (1998) Introduced insect fauna of an oceanic archipelago: The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Am. Entomol. 44: 218-237.
  • Causton, C.E. Sevilla, C. (2008) Latest Records of Introduced Invertebrates in Galapagos and Measures to control them. Galapagos Report 2006-2007, CDF, GNP and INGALA, Puerto Ayora, Galapagos, Ecuador, p. 142-145.
  • Roque-Albelo, L. Causton, C. (1999) El niño and introduced insects in the galápagos islands: different dispersal strategies, similar effects. Noticias de Galápagos 60: 30-36.
  • Peck, S.B. (1996) Origin and development of an insect fauna on a remote archipelago: The Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. In: Keast A., Miller S.E. (eds.): The origin and evolution of Pacific Island biotas, New Guinea to eastern Polynesia: patterns and processes. SPB Academic Publishing, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, p. 91-122.
  • Hogue, C. (1993) Latin American Insects and Entomology. University of California Press. 430 pp.

The “Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands”, in French “Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association International sans but lucratif (“AISBL”), has its registered office located at Chaussée de la Hulpe 177 Bte 20 (rez) - 1170, Brussels, and is registered under the trade registry of Brussels under the number 0409.359.103.

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