Social Learning in Vespula Germanica Wasps: Do They Use Collective Foraging Strategies?
MARIANA LOZADA; PAOLA D'ADAMO; MICAELA BUTELER; MARCELO KUPERMAN
PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
Lugar: San Francisco; Año: 2016
Vespula germanica is a social wasp that has become established outside its native range inmany regions of the world, becoming a major pest in the invaded areas. In the present workwe analyze social communication processes used by V. germanica when exploiting undepletedfood sources. For this purpose, we investigated the arrival pattern of wasps at aprotein bait and evaluated whether a forager recruited conspecifics in three different situations:foragers were able to return to the nest (full communication), foragers were removedon arrival (communication impeded), or only one forager was allowed to return to the nest(local enhancement restricted). Results demonstrated the existence of recruitment in V. germanica,given that very different patterns of wasp arrivals and a higher frequency of waspvisits to the resource were observed when communication flow between experienced andnaive foragers was allowed. Our findings showed that recruitment takes place at a distancefrom the food source, in addition to local enhancement. When both local enhancement anddistant recruitment were occurring simultaneously, the pattern of wasp arrival was exponential.When recruitment occurred only distant from the feeder, the arrival pattern was linear,but the number of wasps arriving was twice as many as when neither communication norlocal enhancement was allowed. Moreover, when return to the nest was impeded, wasparrival at the bait was regular and constant, indicating that naive wasps forage individuallyand are not spatially aggregated. In conclusion, this is the first study to demonstrate recruitmentin V. germanica at a distance from the food source by modelling wasps? arrival to a protein-based resource. In addition, the existence of correlations when communication wasallowed and reflected in tandem arrivals indicates that we were not in the presence of randomprocesses.