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Toxicity of Dolichovespula maculata venom


Toxicon 17(6): 645-648
Toxicity of Dolichovespula maculata venom
The results are presented of a study on the comparative toxicity of the venom of Dolichovespula maculata (L.) administered to other insects, to mice and to the hornet itself by injection. They showed that the venom was not highly toxic to any of the insect species tested (Acheta domesticus (L.), Sarcophaga bullata Parker and Galleria mellonella (L.) as well as D. maculata) or to mice, and unless it was injected directly towards a ganglion it did not effectively decrease the activity of insects. Only high doses produced irreversible paralysis. These finding confirm the hypothesis that the major function of the venom is to provide a defence against vertebrate predators. In addition to birds that capture flying wasps, predacious mammals and birds that often attack the colonies directly must constitute especially important predators. There is evidence to suggest that the deterrent value of the venom to vertebrate predators may be based on its algogenic nature rather than its lethal potency.

Accession: 000789636

PMID: 524390

DOI: 10.1016/0041-0101(79)90240-x

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