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Scientific classification

Hornets are large, aggressive social wasps. The true hornets make up the genus Vespa, and can be distinguished from by having heads swollen behind their eyes and anteriorly rounded gasters (the section of the abdomen behind the wasp waist). They usually build nests in sheltered areas, such as hollow tree trunks, and may use fibers from live plants to construct them. Hornets are native to the old world, but one species, V. crabro, has been introduced throughout the Americas. It can be distinguished by its brown and yellow coloration.

Some other wasps are usually referred to as hornets, most notably the baldfaced hornet[?], Vespula maculata. This is closely related to the yellowjackets[?], but is coloured black and ivory rather than black and yellow, and is similar to true hornets in size and temperment.

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