Social Learning in Vespula Germanica Wasps: Do They Use Collective Foraging Strategies?
LOZADA MARIANA; D ADAMO PAOLA; BUTELER, MICAELA; KUPERMAN, MARCELO
PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
Lugar: San Francisco; Año: 2016 vol. 11
Vespula germanica is a social wasp that has become established outside its native range in many regions of the world, becoming a major pest in the invaded areas. In the present work we analyze social communication processes used by V. germanica when exploiting un-depleted food sources. For this purpose, we investigated the arrival pattern of wasps at a protein bait and evaluated whether a forager recruited conspecifics in three different situations: foragers were able to return to the nest (full communication), foragers were removed on 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 wasp visits to the resource were observed when communication flow between experienced and naive foragers was allowed. Our findings showed that recruitment takes place at a distance from the food source, in addition to local enhancement. When both local enhancement and distant 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 nor local enhancement was allowed. Moreover, when return to the nest was impeded, wasp arrival at the bait was regular and constant, indicating that naive wasps forage individually and are not spatially aggregated. In conclusion, this is the first study to demonstrate recruitment in 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 was allowed and reflected in tandem arrivals indicates that we were not in the presence of random processes.