I am adding notes on the types of Sonan as provided in the excellent review by Kojima et al (2011) On the species-group taxa of Taiwanese social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) described and/or treated by J. Sonan: http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2011/f/zt02920p064.pdf
Notes on Sonan's Holotypes of Vespa species described from Taiwan
1.) Vespa formosana Sonan 1927 [Vespa affinis Linnaeus 1764]
Sonan (1927) did not designate the holotype when he described this nominal taxon based on queen(s) [body length
28 mm; wing span 50 mm; fore wing length 21 mm], worker(s) [body length 22 mm; wing span 35 mm; fore wing
length 16 mm] and male(s) [body length 21 mm; wing span 41 mm; fore wing length 18 mm] from “Taihoku, Kagi,
Takezaki, Nanto, Daimokko, Maruyama”. Starr (1992: 102) mentioned “types examined: 1 queen, 1 worker, 1 ♂”,
which does not constitute lectotype designation.
Type material. In TARI, we located only the following specimens that could be from the type series of Vespa
formosana. LECTOTYPE (designated here): one queen (body length 28 mm; wing span 46 mm; fore wing length
20 mm), with labels of Type label, “Taihoku / 3.VII 1926 / Col. J. Sonan”, “Vespa formosana / Sonan”, and “161”.
PARALECTOTYPES: one worker (body length 21 mm; wing span 33 mm; fore wing length 16 mm), with Type
label, “♀ type”, “Kagi / 14 VI 1926 / Toyota”, “Vespa formosana / Sonan” and “162”; and 1 ♂ (body length 19
mm; fore wing length 18 mm), with Type label, “type ♂”, “Vespa formosana / Sonan”, and “163” but without any
collection data label. These specimens could be those that Starr (1992) refered to as “types examined”.
Sonan (1929) listed the following specimens that he examined: 1 worker, Dakusui (Ratô), 4.XI.1928 (J.
Sonan); 1 worker, Fukô, 1.VII.1925 (J. Sonan); 1 worker*, Kagi, 25.VI.1926 (K. Toyota); 2 workers*, Kagi,
10.VI.1926 (K. Toyota); 1 worker*, Kagi, XI.1923 (M. Kato); 1 queen*, Kagi, 24.VII.1924 (K. Toyota); 1 queen*,
Nanto, IV.1910 (G. Toba); 1 queen*, Nanto, IV.1910 (T. Shiraki); 1 worker, Sozan, 29.IX.1926 (J. Sonan); 1
worker*, Taihoku, 27.VIII.1908 (I. Nitobe); 1 worker*, Taihoku, 28.II.1913 (S. Inamura); 1 queen*, Taihoku,
XI.1912 (I. Nitobe); 1 queen, Taihoku, 23.V.1928 (J. Sonan); 1 queen*, Taihoku, VII.1925 (J. Sonan); 1 queen*,
Taihoku, 5.VI.1908 (I. Nitobe); 1 queen*, Taihoku, 3.VII.126 (J. Sonan); 1 queen*, Taihoku, XI.1912 (I.
Nitobe); 2 workers*, Taihoku, 30.VIII.1925 (J. Sonan); 1 worker*, Takezaki, 15.IX.1926 (J. Sonan). Among these
specimens those with asterisks had been collected before year 1927 when the original description of Vespa formosana
was published, and at the localities mentioned in the original description; they could be examined by Sonan
when he prepared the original description. However, Sonan (1927) did not mention any variation in color pattern or
morphology, and thus we conclude that the original description was based on the three specimens (one queen, one
worker and one male) with the Type labels. The queen specimen from “Taihoku” that has a label of specimen number
“161” is here desiganated as the lectotype of Vespa formosana Sonan 1927. The worker from “Kagi” (specimen
number “162”) and the male with specimen number “163” are paralectotypes.
Bequaert (1936: 345), on the strength of the original descriptions and specimens from “Takao” and “Hu Sia”
[unrecognized locality], synonymized this nominal taxon under Vespa affinis (Linnaeus). Later he (Bequaert 1939:
42) confirmed his own synonymy, mentioning “Dr. K. Yasumatsu sent me recently a specimen of what is called
V. formosana by Japanese entomologists.” However, Bequaert's synonymy has long been overlooked. Van der Vecht
(1957, 1959) did not refer to this synonymy, Kuo (1984) and Kuo & Yeh (1987) used V. formosana to describe ecological
aspects of this species, and finally Starr (1992) referred to Sonan's types and recognized the synonymy of V.
formosana with V. affinis but did not refer to Bequaert's synonymy. The lectotype (and also paralectotypes) of
Vespa formosana here designated belongs to V. affinis and the synonymy of Bequaert (1936) has been confirmed.
2.) Vespa flavitarsus Sonan 1929 [Vespa velutina Lepeletier 1836]
Type material. Sonan (1929) described this nominal taxon with the designation of the queen with collection data
“Taiko-san (Kagi), 4–10.II.1924 (Coll. M. Kato)” as the HOLOTYPE. The holotype is in TARI and has labels of
“Mt. Taiko, Ka- / gi Gun 3350 ft / Feb. 4–10 -1924 / Col. M. Kato”, Type label, “Vespa ♀ / flavitarsus Sonan /det.
J. Sonan”, and “160”. Sonan (1929: 143) listed the following specimens designated as PARATYPES; we located in
TARI those that are marked with asterisks and those for which different number of specimen(s) and/or caste are
given in brackets: 1 queen* & 1 worker*, Arisan, 2–23.X.1918 (J. Sonan, M. Yoshino); 1 worker [1 queen*], Arisan,
3.V.1917 (T. Shiraki, J. Sonan); 3 workers*, Arisan, 10.X.1912 (I Nitobe); 3 queens [2 workers*], Funkiko
(Arisan, 4600ft.), 16.X.1926 (J. Sonan); 1 worker*, Horisha, V–VIII.1918 (Coll. H. Kawamura); 1 worker*, Kayabara,
4.IX.1923 (T. Shiraki, J. Sonan); 2 queens [2 workers*], Karenko, 20.VII–4.VIII.1919 (T. Okuni, J. Sonan,
K. Miyake, M. Yoshino); 2 workers*, Kobayashi (Rato), 29.viii.1923 (T. Shiraki, J. Sonan); 1 worker, Kusukusu,
20.IV.1928 (J. Sonan); 3 workers [1 worker*], Musha, 18.V–15.VI.1919 (T. Okuni, J. Sonan, K. Miyake, M.
Yoshino); 1 worker*, Rikiriki, 23.III.1924 (N. Takeda); 1 worker*, Rimogan, 8.XI.1928 (J. Sonan); 1 worker,
Raisha, 30.VIII.1927 (J. Sonan, K. Shibata); 1 worker [2 workers*], Shinchiku, 1–30.VIII.1918 (J. Sonan, K.
Miyake); 1 worker*, Shinten, 2.VI.1928 (J. Sonan); 1 worker, Shinsuiei, 17.III.1926 (S. Issiki); 1 queen, Taihoku,
30.IV.1919 (I. Nitobe); 1 worker*, Taipin, 12.IX.1910 (T. Shiraki); 2 queens, Takezaki, 15.IX.1926 (J. Sonan); 2
workers* & 1 queen*, Taito, 25.II–25.III.1919 (S. Inamura, J. Sonan, M. Yoshino); 3 workers [1 worker*], Tamaru,
1.IX.1923 (T. Shiraki, J. Sonan); 4 workers*, Tabo, 23.VIII.1923 (T. Shiraki, J. Sonan).
Van der Vecht (1959: 230) treated this nominal taxon as a subspecies of V. velutina, and Starr (1992: 106) synonymized
it under V. velutina by giving “Vespa flavitarsus Sonan 1929: 142–143 [holotype worker examined]” in
the synonym list of V. velutina.