Thermal stress and microhabitat selection in territorial males of the digger wasp philanthus psyche hymenoptera sphecidae

O'neill K.M.; O'neill R.P.

Journal of Thermal Biology 13(1): 15-20

1988


ISSN/ISBN: 0306-4565
DOI: 10.1016/0306-4565(88)90004-6
Accession: 006797984

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Abstract
1. In July and August males of the digger wasp Philanthus psyche Dunning establish mating territories during the middle of the day on the surface in sparsely vegetated sand dunes in northeastern Colorado, USA. During their activity periods surface temperatures range as high as 50-60.degree. C. 2. All males forced to remain on the sand surface, at surface temperatures above 40.degree. C, died within 32 min. At 55.degree. C, or above, males succumbed in less than 22 s. 3. Males are able to remain on territories by adjusting the duration of perches on the surface and by switching to perching on plants later in the day. Body temperatures of models (i.e. dried specimens) placed on territories suggest that these simple behavioral adjustments allow males to remain within a tolerable range of temperatures.