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Psyche
Volume 2011, Article ID 157149, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/157149
Research Article

Observations on Forced Colony Emigration in Parachartergus fraternus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Epiponini): New Nest Site Marked with Sprayed Venom

Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida Bandeirantes 3900, 14040-901 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

Received 8 September 2010; Revised 20 December 2010; Accepted 12 February 2011

Academic Editor: Robert Matthews

Copyright © 2011 Sidnei Mateus. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Five cases of colony emigration induced by removal of nest envelope and combs and a single one by manipulation are described. The disturbance was followed by defensive patterns, buzz running, and adult dispersion. An odor trail created by abdomen dragging, probably depositing venom or Dufour's gland secretions, connected the original nest to the newly selected nesting place and guided the emigration. The substrate of the selected nesting place is intensely sprayed with venom prior to emigration, and this chemical cue marked the emigration end point. The colony moves to the new site in a diffuse cloud with no temporary clusters formed along the odor trail. At the original nest, scouts performed rapid gaster dragging and intense mouth contacts stimulating inactive individuals to depart. Males were unable to follow the swarm. Individual scouts switched between different behavioral tasks before and after colony emigration. Pulp collected from the old nest was reused at the new nest site.