Is a social wasp found in the southern United States and northern Mexico. This species has also been observed in Missouri, Maryland, and New Jersey. There has been a northward expansion of the eastern half of the U.S. This expansion is typically attributed to changing global climate and temperatures.
This species does not have a widely used common name, though in Texas some call it a yellowjacket, a name that should be reserved for Vespula. The name guinea wasp has been used, but has not been widely adopted. Polistes exclamans is also referred to by a generic name for the genus Polistes which is called paper wasps.
Their colonies contain three castes: workers, queens and males, though differences between workers and queens are generally plastic and behavioral. The physiological similarities between the worker and queen castes have lead to experiments attempting to distinguish the characteristics of these two castes and how they are determined.
Polistes exclamans are also interesting in their behavior and ecology. The high worker and queen mortality rate has led to the prevalence of satellite nests. The high queen mortality has also resulted in interesting responses by the worker caste. The high mortality is mainly caused by parasitoids and predation. P. exclamans have developed defense mechanisms to reduce the rate of colony extinction as a result of this predation and parasitism.
Polistes engages in a kind of parental care called allomaternal care which is really a kind of social worker behavior "[they] become workers that direct maternal behavior toward siblings in the presence of a reproducing female (most often their mother)". In any event it is not "INDIVIDUAL "parent" animals taking care of their OWN young." as requested by the mission statement.