Putting on airs doesnt cut it in the wasp world.
When wasps sporting the high-quality symbol of a blotchy face turned out to be wimps, they got harassed more than wasps whose abilities were honestly reflected by their faces, report researchers. Its the first conclusive report that animals that dont signal their qualities honestly receive social sanctions. Moreover, its the first report of such quality signals in insects. "Its the most conclusive evidence that these dishonest visual signals have a social cost," said Elizabeth A. Tibbetts, a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for Insect Science at the University of Arizona in Tucson. "If you fake it, youll get beaten up."
She and her co-author James Dale of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada report their findings in the Nov. 11 issue of the journal Nature. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Marie Jensen | UA News Services
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