International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI2018), August 5-10, 2018 in Guarujá, Brazil.

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Polistes myersi predation repertory on Galleria mellonella larvae

Author(s):
Daniela Mayorga Churión, Daniela Mayorga, Natalia Castro, Camilo Rodríguez, Angie Amezquita, Carlos Sarmiento
Institution(s):
Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia; Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Social wasps are generalist predators which display a complex behavioral repertory while hunting, this repertory allows them to manipulate their prey adequately and provide resources to their nestmates and their brood. The characterization of those behaviors is fundamental for a good understanding of the adjustments that wasps make towards different prey. The predatory behavior of Polistes myersi was analyzed by offering them Galleria mellonella larvae. All the colonies were maintained at 28°C and 44% RH. 20 predation events were analyzed. 19 behaviour types were identified. Making a food ball represents 41% of the predation time, malaxation while conducting metasomal contraction movements implies 27% of the time, and moving the prey takes 11% of the time. The most frequent behaviors were moving the prey, making a food ball and malaxation.  After malaxation making the food ball and moving the prey were the more probable behaviors. Metasomal contraction movements while simultaneously malaxating the prey are followed by making the food ball. Antenna waving is followed by direct contact prey inspection. Moving the prey occurs before making the food ball. The general pattern found in Polistes myersi agrees with other investigations for species such as Mischocyttarus drewseni and Polybia sericea. Those works mention that the first steps for detecting prey are olfactory cues, which is evident by the raise of antennae and antennae waving before hunting the larvae as reported here.
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