Key words:Vespula, Polistes, Vespidae, foraging, resource choice.
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary: The role of visual cues provided by resident wasps on resource choice by yellowjacket and paper wasp foragers was investigated. Large spring queen yellowjackets and small early season yellowjacket foragers (Vespula germanica, Vespula maculifrons, and Vespula vidua) were extracted in hexane to remove odors and posed as though feeding at petri dish feeders bearing daisy-like flower models, equipped with microcapillary feeding tubes, and containing 1:3 honey:water solution. An array of five feeders was presented to foragers at a suburban and a woodland site in Saratoga Springs, New York. The visual cues provided by resident wasps influenced resource choice by approaching social wasp foragers. Vespula germanica, an introduced yellowjacket species that tends to dominate at rich resources, was the only wasp visiting the suburban feeders. Foragers of this species preferentially fed on feeders and flowers with posed wasps and fed most often next to large wasps. Polistes fuscatus foragers at the woodland site similarly preferred to feed on occupied feeders and flowers. Vespula maculifrons and V. consobrina preferentially visited unoccupied feeders. Individual V. maculifrons, V. consobrina and V. vidua foragers that landed on occupied feeders all preferentially visited unoccupied flowers on those feeders. Vespula vidua and V. flavopilosa foragers did not demonstrate a feeder preference based on the presence/absence of posed wasps. Vespula consobrina foragers that visited occupied feeders preferred those occupied by extracted V. maculifrons queens and workers; no other wasps showed species based landing preferences.
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