Dec 12, 2001

Factors influencing the adoption of artificial nests in Polistes dominulus (Christ)

Behavioural Processes
M SoleilhavoupS Turillazzi


Nest recognition is critical to the sociality of wasps. Studies on Polistes have shown that is essentially based on chemoreception. Moreover, wasps are also able to recognise the nest's contents and this could also participate in nest recognition. By the method of the artificial nest adoption, we examined which natural nest stimuli (hydrocarbons from paper nests, hydrocarbons from immature broods or eggs, and the physical presence of both) act consistently in nest recognition. Since these stimuli change with the age of colony, we also considered its maturity. Our results show that the presence of eggs have a stronger effect to induce artificial nest adoption. Surprisingly, the paper nest hydrocarbons alone were weakly attractive. On the contrary, paper nest hydrocarbons combined with immature brood hydrocarbons, increased significantly the adoption of artificial nests. Finally, previous experiences of the wasps and the maturity of the nest they come from appear as influential factors in adoption and probably in nest recognition. In conclusion, some biological and practical implications of these results are discussed that underlined the necessary combination of various nests features to insure nest recognition.

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