Section 7
Chapter 6,164

Predatory behavior of solitary wasps 5. stinging of caterpillars by euodynerus foraminatus hymenoptera eumenidae

Steiner, A.L.

Biology of Behaviour 8(1): 11-26


Accession: 006163126

A number of rather primitive solitary aculeate wasps give an average of 4 basic successive stings (= C4SP) to their rather large and vigorous orthopteran prey (crickets and grasshoppers). The stings affect the 3 thoracic limbs and corresponding separate ganglia and the subesophageal area and ganglion (= 3 + 1). Many eumenid wasps use several small and frail, easily overpowered, caterpillars and pack them tightly into the [nest] cells. This, and perhaps a more potent venom, seems to weaken selection pressures for delivering 1 separate sting to each pair of limbs and ganglia. Often the wasp skips the 2 intermediate stings of the C4SP which is thereby weakened. The resulting imperfect paralysis of such a weak prey does not appear to have adverse effects. At the other extreme some sphecid wasps such as Podalonia luctuosa use a single very large and strong cutworm (Agrotidae) per cell. Sting multiplication instead of reduction is then observed. The C4SP is supplemented by a certain number of abdominal stings (up to a maximum of 6, usually). Number of limbs and corresponding separate ganglia as well as relative size and strength of the prey apparently shaped prey-stinging patterns during the evolution of paralyzing behavior.

PDF emailed within 1 workday: $29.90