Variation in Propensity to Exhibit Thanatosis in Nasonia vitripennis (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae)
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- King, B.H. & Leaich, H.R. J Insect Behav (2006) 19: 241. doi:10.1007/s10905-006-9022-7
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Thanatosis (death-feigning) has rarely been documented for Hymenoptera but occurs in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. The propensity to exhibit thanatosis did not differ with age, sex, or food deprivation. Squeezing a female’s abdomen and contacting her antennae were equally likely to trigger thanatosis. Dropping an object next to a female in order to cause substrate vibrations never triggered thanatosis, and dropping a female from a test tube rarely triggered thanatosis. Thanatosis was not seen during interactions between females. There was some tendency for females to exhibit fewer thanatosis responses on white than on colored backgrounds. Females that were least active had the greatest tendency to exhibit thanatosis.