The Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina) is an insect in the family of eusocial wasps. It is a vespine. It is also known as the Yellow-Legged Hornet.
The Asian Hornet has a smooth black and yellow-orange body with black wings and yellow legs, called tarsi. Its thorax (chest) is brown or black. Its abdomen (stomach) is brown. Each abdominal segment has a narrow yellow border, except for the fourth segment, which is orange. Its head is black with a yellow-orange face and black antennae. The female worker hornet has a smooth barbless stinger that can repeatedly sting an animal.
It grows to about 2-3 centimetres (about one inch) in length.
It is native to southeast Asia, in countries such as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, Taiwan, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Indo-Chinese peninsula. It is invasive in some other countries, such as France, Spain, Portugal, South Korea, and Japan.
It is carnivorous, eating insects, such as bees, flies, and dragonflies.
The Asian Hornet builds a nest that houses a colony of several thousand individuals. Its nest is made of a paper-like substance after chewing twigs, leaves, and plant fibres. The nest is in the shape of a large egg, about 50 centimetres (20 inches) long in a tree, with an entrance at one side.
The queen wasp lays eggs in the combs inside the nest. Worker wasps look after the eggs and the hatched young hornets.
[Location of photographs: Paris, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM