HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Biting may drive division of labor among social wasp workers

Popular wisdom reminds people not to bite the hand that feeds them. But now a University of Washington researcher has found a species of social wasp that bites its fellow workers, prompting them to leave the nest and forage for the colony.

Sean O'Donnell, a UW assistant professor of psychology, also found that the behavior of the wasps, Polybia occidentalis, was not related to competition over reproduction or to body size. This suggests that biting and other interactions in this and similar species may be an important means of regulating the division of labor in insect colonies, he said.

O'Donnell's findings, published in the current issue of the journal Behavioral Ecology, were based on detailed observation of three wasp colonies in a dry tropical forest in Costa Rica. He captured nearly 800 female workers from the three colonies, color-coded them with dots of paint on their thorax and observed their interactions. O'Donnell focused on females because this species of wasp is basically a female society and males seem to do little work.

The range of biting behaviors observed varied, ranging from mild to highly aggressive. O'Donnell divided the behavior into three categories: very mild that could be likened to a light poke in the ribs among humans, slow chewing-like biting, and highly aggressive biting where the recipient is doing its best to escape.

"These are not different behaviors but a continuum of the same behavior, and the intensity of biting can transition to a more aggressive form," said O'Donnell.

In addition, he observed that some individuals were the victims of simultaneous or serial biting. As many as six wasps were observed biting another individual either simultaneously or sequentially. Biting interactions typically lasted less than 30 seconds, but a few were extended for as long as 10 minutes.

"Biting seems to have a cumulative effect on the behavior of these wasps," O'Donnell said. "As the number
'"/>

Contact: Joel Schwarz
joels@u.washington.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
27-Jun-2001


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Broken arms and collateral damage: clues to predator-driven evolution
2. Ecology drives the worldwide distribution of human diseases
3. Espionage may have driven the evolution of bee language according to UCSD-led study in Brazil
4. Changes to insect-seeking calls of horseshoe bats may drive new species formation
5. New highways drive accelerating deforestation in Amazonia
6. Functional genomics enables easy target identification and drives drug discovery
7. Fat hormone leptin alters brain architecture and activity, which in turn drives feeding behavior
8. Combination therapy drives cancer into remission
9. Educational program increases some safety behaviors for older drivers
10. Its feast or famine: Predators may drive lemming cycles, Science researchers say
11. Northern climate, ecosystems driven by cycles of changing sunlight

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:8/12/2020)... ... August 12, 2020 , ... ... that are ideal for public health agencies of all sizes. With a focus ... helping at-risk individuals find appropriate health care, Mosio helps public health departments automate ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... ... 2020 , ... BioFactura, Inc. today announced a $1 million ... & Technology Office—Chemical and Biological Defense (JSTO-CBD) of the Department of Defense (DoD). ... efficient mammalian cell culture-based bioprocess suitable to meet surge requirement needs for rapid ...
(Date:7/10/2020)... ... July 08, 2020 , ... ... Gene Therapy Regulation, An FDAnews Webinar, Wednesday, July 22, 2020 • 1:30 p.m.-3:00 ... but what is the most effective way to complete one? Will the study ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2020)... ... August 13, 2020 , ... Inc. magazine today ... most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a ... segment—its independent small businesses. Intuit, Zappos, Under Armour, Microsoft, Patagonia, and many other ...
(Date:8/3/2020)... ... August 03, 2020 , ... ERT, the ... CEO has been named one of the 100 most inspiring individuals in the ... honorees are selected based on how they have inspired their colleagues and affected ...
(Date:7/31/2020)... Mass. (PRWEB) , ... July 29, 2020 , ... ... wire that can combine up to three different materials for use with CRM, ... combine up to three materials to meet specific design requirements, performance, and cost ...
(Date:7/22/2020)... ... ... Join experts from Reed Tech , Gary Saner, Sr. Manager, Information Solutions Life ... webinar on Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 11am EDT (4pm BST/UK). , The ... medical devices, the NMPA has departments dealing with medical device registration (pre-market approvals) and ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: