The first live specimen of a yellow-legged hornet, which “poses a threat to honeybees and other pollinators,” was recently detected in the wild in the United States.
About Yellow-Legged Hornet:
- The Asian hornet, also known as the yellow-legged hornet or Asian predatory wasp, is a species of hornet indigenous to Southeast Asia.
- Scientific Name: Vespa velutina
- It is a predatory insect that commonly feeds on other social bees and wasps, including honey bees.
- This species has become invasive in several parts of the world, where it poses a threat to local ecosystems and bee populations.
- It is distinct from the infamous Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia), often referred to as the "murder hornet," which is a different and larger species found in parts of Asia, including Japan. While both species are predators of bees, the Yellow-Legged Hornet has become a particular concern in parts of Europe due to its invasive nature and impact on local ecosystems.
- It is relatively large, with adults typically measuring between 2 to 3 centimeters (0.8 to 1.2 inches) in length.
- It has a dark brown or black body with a distinctive bright yellow or orange band on its fourth abdominal segment.
- As its name suggests, it has yellow legs, which is a key identifying feature.
- It is a very aggressive species and its sting is very painful.
- They are carnivorous and primarily feed on other insects, especially bees and wasps. They are known to be skilled hunters of honeybees.
Q1) What is an Invasive Species?
An invasive species, also known as an invasive alien species or invasive exotic species, refers to a non-native organism (plant, animal, or microbe) that has been introduced to a new environment, whether intentionally or accidentally, and has the potential to cause harm to the local ecosystem, economy, or human health. Invasive species are characterized by their ability to thrive and reproduce rapidly in their new habitat, often outcompeting native species and disrupting the natural balance of the ecosystem.