|Wasp-face showing the 'anchor' mark between the eyes.|
|The thorax - note the four yellow dots forming a square between the wing-bases.|
So, looking at the wasp-face above, the 'anchor' mark is a good clue - this is found in V. vulgaris and the closely related Red Wasp V. rufa. However, the latter only has two yelow dots on the thorax, so this is indeed the Common Wasp.
Identification aside, I wanted to take a closer look at an often overlooked (and sometimes unpopular as it is defensive of its nest and does sting, and may number into the thousands in a nest) invertebrate. The face clearly shows tufts of hairs, plus punctures on the mandibles, and the antennae have a velvety look to them with the segments only indistinctly separated. Another feature used to differentiate vespid species is the 'malar space' - the gaps between the bottom of the eye and the top of the mandible. In both the Common and Red wasps, this is short, but in some species such as those in the genus Dolichovespula, it is noticeably longer. However, taking a tour of our wasp means starting with larger structures, so here's a side view of the head and thorax, plus one of the abdomen.
|Wasp head and thorax in side view|
|Wasp abdomen in side view|
|Tip of wasp abdomen|
|Close-up of abdominal segment|
|Underside of the mid-section|
|Underside of the waist in close-up|
|Close-up of the wing|
|The top of the head showing ocelli|
|Close-up of the mandibles|
|Close-up of the eye and antenna|
Allen, G. (2009). Bees, Wasps and Ants of Kent. Kent Field Club.
Baldock, D.W. (2010). Wasps of Surrey. Surrey Wildlife Trust, Woking.