Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Some Paper Wasp Queens Sit And Wait To Hijack Or Adopt Another Queen's Nest, Cornell Researcher Discovers

Date:
August 13, 1998
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
Scientists once believed that a wasp queen took over another queen's nest only if her own nest had been destroyed. That's wrong.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Scientists once believed that a wasp queen took over another queen's nest only if her own nest had been destroyed. That's wrong.

A Cornell University researcher has found that certain female paper wasps (Polistes dominulus), without nests of their own, "sit and wait" for an opportunity to adopt orphaned nests or hijack nests from other queens. "If paper wasps could talk, Jerry Springer would have a month full of guests on his TV talk show," says Philip T. Starks, a Cornell doctoral candidate in animal behavior, whose research is being published today (Aug 7) by Britain's Royal Society.

"This is risky behavior. From an evolutionary perspective, if females don't get a nest, they won't get offspring in the next generation," says Starks. "We all know people who sit and wait for others to do things for them, but who would have thought we'd see the same behavior in insects?"

Are the wasps acting like cuckoos because they are lazy or just plain mean?

"We've known about usurping and adopting for a long time, but we thought the queens came from destroyed nests or were subordinate queens who had left their previous nests. The fact is, in the field we didn't know where they all came from. Obviously, adopting is not the only reproductive strategy that wasps engage in, but it is a strategy that can have a high pay off," says Starks.

These sit-and-wait female wasps prefer to adopt the most mature nests, probably because these nests will produce workers the soonest, and colonies with workers are very likely to survive. Starks explains that once a queen adopts a nest she will eat the former queen's eggs and young larvae and replace them with her own eggs. The older larvae and pupae, which belonged to the former queen, are allowed to complete development and may eventually help rear the adopting female's offspring.

Polistes dominulus are non-indigenous to the United States. Starks explains that the species arrived from Europe about 20 years ago and settled in Massachusetts. From there, the insects moved through New York sometime during the past decade and have spread to theMidwest. Ferocious hunters, paper wasps feast on caterpillars.

"If you have a garden and you want to get rid of caterpillar pests, get some paper wasps. That'll take care of them," Starks says.

Starks' paper, "A novel 'sit and wait' reproductive strategy in social wasps, " was published in the Aug 7 issue of the journal The Proceedings of the Royal Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Some Paper Wasp Queens Sit And Wait To Hijack Or Adopt Another Queen's Nest, Cornell Researcher Discovers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980812085615.htm>.
Cornell University. (1998, August 13). Some Paper Wasp Queens Sit And Wait To Hijack Or Adopt Another Queen's Nest, Cornell Researcher Discovers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980812085615.htm
Cornell University. "Some Paper Wasp Queens Sit And Wait To Hijack Or Adopt Another Queen's Nest, Cornell Researcher Discovers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980812085615.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins