Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tropical wasps attack intruders with unfamiliar faces

04.02.2015

A species of tropical wasps can memorise the faces of members of their colony and will attack any individual with an unfamiliar face

The scientists went to the remote tropical forests of South East Asia to study this tiny wasp species, named Liostenogaster flavolineata.


The faces of three different wasps are showing the differentiation.

Credit: QMUL

Each nest contains a family of related individuals and hundreds of nests can be clustered together to form a kind of city. Close proximity to so many other families means each colony faces persistent landing attempts by intruders from the neighbourhood, and these might steal resources or theoretically lay cuckoo eggs.

Many insect species can tell family members by the colony-specific scent they bear, but the new study reveals a sophisticated interplay between sight and scent in the nest mate recognition of this insect. When the wasps had only visual information they were more likely to accidently attack a friend and when they had only odours they were more likely to misidentify an enemy as a friend.

They appeared to err on the side of caution and prioritise whether or not they recognised the face of another wasp when deciding whether to attack. This leads to wasps occasionally starting to attack others from their colony before realising their error and backing off before they cause any injury.

Dr David Baracchi, research fellow at QMUL and one the paper's authors, said:

"These wasps can use both face recognition and scent to determine whether another wasp is friend or foe. Unfortunately neither sight nor smell is infallible so they appear to not take any chances and attack anyone whose face they don't recognise."

Prof Lars Chittka, another author of the study, commented:

"These findings about individual face recognition in wasps add to a number of recent discoveries about the remarkable behavioural and cognitive sophistication in the tiny-brained social insects".

This study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, is the first demonstrating that identification of colony intruders is mediated by the unfamiliarity of their faces. For the first time, the authors examined both visual and odour recognition in wasps, adding to our understanding of how animals prioritise different senses.

Media Contact

Will Hoyles
w.hoyles@qmul.ac.uk
07-772-512-519

 @QMUL

http://www.qmul.ac.uk 

Will Hoyles | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>