• How to Design Experiments in Animal Behaviour: 6. Why are Male Wasps Lazy?

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    • Keywords


      Psychology, laziness, paper wasp, feminine monarchy, larval feeding, feeding rate, clypeus.

    • Abstract


      In this article, we move from sensory physiology to psychologyand consider the proverbially lazy drone. I will describehow some simple experiments permitted us to understandwhy males in the Indian paper wasp Ropalidia marginata dono work in the colony even during the time they live in it. Takingthe behaviour of feeding larvae as an example of work,we show that male wasps normally do not feed larvae, not becausethey are incapable of doing so, but because they do nothave access to enough food and also because female wasps areso much better at this job. As a confirmation of this conclusion,we could cure the males of their laziness, i.e., get themto feed the larvae by providing them with excess food andleaving them in the presence of hungry larvae, without thepresence of females.

    • Author Affiliations


      Raghavendra Gadagkar1

      1. Centre for Ecological Sciences Indian Institute of Science Bangalore 560 012, India.
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