In social insects, newly emerged individuals learn the colony-specific chemical label from their natal comb shortly after their emergence. These labels help to identify each individual's colony of origin and are used as a recognition template against which individuals can discriminate nestmates from non-nestmates. Our previous studies with Polybia paulista von Ihering support this general pattern, and the acceptance rate of young female and male wasps decreased as a function of their age. Our study also showed in P. paulista that more than 90% of newly emerged female wasps might be accepted by conspecific unrelated colonies. However, it has not been investigated whether the acceptance rate of newly emerged female wasps depends on colony developmental stage of recipient colonies. We introduced newly emerged female wasps of P. paulista into different colony developmental stags of recipient colonies, i.e., worker-producing and male-producing colonies. We found that the acceptance rate of newly emerged female wasps by alien colonies was pretty lower by male-producing colonies than worker-producing colonies. This is the first study to show that the acceptance rate of young female wasps depends on stages of recipient colonies.
Polybia scutellaris (White) builds large nests characterized by numerous spiny projections on the surface. In order to determine whether or not the nest temperature is maintained because of homeothermic conditions of the nest individuals or otherwise, we investigated the thermal conditions within the nests built by P. scutellaris. We measured the temperature within active and abandoned nests. The temperature in the active nest was almost stable at 27°C during data collection, whereas the temperature in the abandoned nest varied with changes in ambient temperature. These results suggest that nest temperature was maintained by the thermogenesis of the individuals of the colony. This is the first report of nest incubation caused by thermogenesis of species of Polybia wasps.
We examined the hypotheses that the empty combs of Polybia occidentalis Olivier (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) nest insulate the inside of the nest. To examine this hypotheses, two kinds of temperature measurements were carried out: 1) with the outer comb of the nest intact (Control) and 2) removed (Treatment), using a large and a small nest. In the large nest, the daily nest temperatures (outer part, Tn1; inner part, Tn2) in Control were lower by 0.6°C (Tn1) and 1.2°C (Tn2) than those in Treatment, because of a higher ambient temperature (Ta) throughout temperature assessment in Treatment. However, the excess temperature (Tn - Ta) in Control was higher than that in Treatment. The value was higher by 0.7°C at Tn1 and 0.1°C at Tn2. In the small nest, the excess temperature in outer part was similar between experiments, while that in inner part of Control was lower than that of Treatment. The temperature fluctuation in the nests was lower in the Control than that in Treatment both the outer and inner part of the comb. We conclude that the unused comb is ecologically invaluable for raising and protecting the brood from extreme changes in ambient temperature during the winter period, because it helps not only keeping a higher nest temperature but also decreasing the temperature fluctuation around the brood combs. In addition, such a high temperature may influence the performance of adult wasps.
Examinou-se a hipótese de que os favos vazios dos ninhos de Polybia occidentalis Olivier (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) atuam como isolamento térmico dos elementos internos da colônia. Para avaliar essa hipótese dois tipos de medidas de temperatura foram tomadas: 1) com o favo externo intacto (Controle) e 2) removido (Tratamento), usando um ninho grande e um ninho menor. As temperaturas diárias no ninho grande (parte externa Tn1; parte interna Tn2), no Controle, foram 0,6°C (T n1) e 1,2°C (Tn2) mais baixas que aquelas do Tratamento, devido à temperatura ambiente (Ta) mais alta durante todo o período avaliado. Entretanto, a temperatura excedente (Tn - Ta) no Controle foi mais alta que no Tratamento. O valor foi 0,7°C mais alto em Tn1 e 0,1°C em Tn2. No ninho menor, a temperatura excedente na parte externa foi semelhante entre os experimentos, e na parte interna a temperatura do Controle foi inferior à do Tratamento. A flutuação térmica nos ninhos foi menor no Controle que no Tratamento, tanto na parte externa quanto interna dos favos. Conclui-se que o favo sem uso é ecologicamente muito importante para criar ou proteger a cria das alterações extremas de temperatura ambiente no inverno, uma vez que ele auxilia na manutenção de temperatura alta no ninho e também no decréscimo da flutuação de temperatura ao redor dos favos de cria. Além disso, essas temperaturas mais altas influenciam as atividades dos adultos.