Oriental hornet

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Oriental hornet
Vespa orientalis 2.jpg
Vespa orientalis pollinating Drimia maritima
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Vespidae
Genus: Vespa
Species: V. orientalis
Binomial name
Vespa orientalis
Linnaeus, 1771

The Oriental hornet, Vespa orientalis, is a hornet which looks very similar to the European hornet. It should not be confused with the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia).

It is commonly found in the Sub-Mediterranean area, but can also be found in Madagascar, United Arab Emirates and India.[1] However, due to human introduction, its habitat is beginning to spread to South America up to Mexico.[2]

The female queen measures 25 to 35 mm long; males and workers are smaller.

In males, the antennae have 13 segments, while females always have 12.

Research and experiments[edit]

Oriental Wasp - Face.jpg

Israeli Space Agency Investigation About Hornets[edit]

The Israeli Space Agency Investigation About Hornets[3] (ISAIAH) was a project from Tel-Aviv University initiated in 1984 to explore the effects of near-zero gravity on oriental hornets, their development and their nest-building instincts. The experiments was funded by the Israel Space Agency with the goal of discovering ways to prevent astronauts from suffering headaches, nausea, and vomiting during the missions. The payload, consisting of 230 Oriental hornets, flight hardware and measuring instruments, was packed onto the Space Shuttle Endeavour mission STS-47 in 1992.

During the launch 202 hornets died as a result of a malfunction in the water system that caused an abnormal increase in humidity. The surviving hornets lost their sense of direction and, unlike the control unit hornets, were unable to climb on the walls or stay in clusters. Instead, they stayed motionless and apart from each other. Roughly 3 to 4 days upon returning to earth, the hornets started climbing on the walls and building a nest. The surviving hornets lived for an average of 23 days instead of 43 like the control hornets.[4]

Yellow stripe[edit]

In 2010 a team of researchers from Israeli and British universities discovered that the yellow stripe in the hornet's abdomen is capable of harvesting the sun's light and converting it into energy. The process is made possible by a pigment called xanthopterin. This might explain why the insects are more active during intense sunlight, unlike most hornets.[5]


  1. ^ Buxton, P. A. (July 1920). "CARRIAGE OF COLIFORM BACILLI BY THE ORIENTAL HORNET". The Journal of Hygiene (Cambridge University Press) 19 (1): 68–71. JSTOR 3859114. PMC 2206882. PMID 20474704. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Dvorak, Libor (June 2006). "Oriental Hornet Vespa orientalis Linnaeus, 1771 found in Mexico". Entomological Problems 36: 80. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "STS-47". NASA. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "The Hornet Experiment". IAMI. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Walker, Matt (6 December 2010). "Oriental hornets powered by 'solar energy'". BBC Earth News. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 

External links[edit]