Advertisement

Zoomorphology

, Volume 103, Issue 3, pp 149–164 | Cite as

Morphology and function of sternal glands in polistine wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

  • R. L. Jeanne
  • H. A. Downing
  • D. C. Post
Article

Summary

The morphology of sternal glands and associated cuticular specializations are described for female polistine social wasps. Their distribution among 25 of the 28 genera of the subfamily is examined in light of what is known of the functions of these glands. Species in which queens found colonies independently of workers (four genera plus part of Ropalidia) have clusters of ducted gland cells on the sixth (terminal) gastral sternite. In all species examined the gland cells open into a tuft of long setae which probably functions as a reservoir/applicator brush. There is at least circumstantial evidence for all five genera that this gland produces an ant repellent substance that is smeared onto the nest petiole, where it serves as a defensive barrier against ants. The remaining genera (20 plus part of Ropalidia) consist of species in which queens are accompanied by a swarm of workers in the initiation of a new colony. In 12 of these genera females have a gland of ducted cells on sternite 5 (penultimate), associated with cuticular sculpturing of various types. Experimental or circumstantial evidence for several of these genera indicates that the product of this gland is used to lay an odor trail that guides the swarm from the parent nest to a new nest site. One genus has a similar gland on the sixth sternite, another has glands on both the fifth and the sixth, and the remaining six genera lack any evidence of sternal glands. The independent-founding species of Ropalidia have a sixth sternal gland associated with a tuft of setae, while the swarm-founding species have the tuft but lack the gland. Our interpretation of this is that the gland produces an ant repellent substance in the independent-founding species, but in the swarm-founding Ropalidia such a substance is of little value and so the gland has been lost.

Keywords

Developmental Biology Circumstantial Evidence Nest Site Duct Cell Gland Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bordas L (1908) Les glandes cutanées de quelques Vespides. Bull Soc Zool 33 (344):59–65Google Scholar
  2. Chadab R, Rettenmeyer CW (1979) Observations on swarm emigrations and dragging behavior by social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Psyche 86 (4):347–352Google Scholar
  3. Darchen R (1976) Ropalidia cincta, guêpe sociale de la savane de Lamto (Cote-D'Ivoire) (Hym. Vespidae). Ann Soc Entomol Fr (N.S.) 12:579–601Google Scholar
  4. Edwards R (1980) Social wasps: their biology and control. Rentokil Limited, East Grinstead, England, 398 ppGoogle Scholar
  5. Forsyth AB (1978) Studies on the behavioral ecology of polygynous social wasps. PhD thesis Harvard Univ., Cambridge, Mass. 226 ppGoogle Scholar
  6. Gamboa and Dew (1981) Intracolonial communication by body oscillations in the paper wasp, Polistes metricus. Insectes Soc 28 (1):13–26Google Scholar
  7. Hermann HR, Dirks TF (1974) Sternal glands in polistine wasps: morphology and associated behavior. J Georgia Entomol Soc 9 (1):1–8Google Scholar
  8. Heselhaus F (1922) Die Hautdrüsen der Apiden und verwandter Formen. Zool Jahrb, Anat u Ontog 43:369–464Google Scholar
  9. Ikan R, Gottlieb R, Bergmann ED, Ishay J (1969) The pheromone of the queen of the Oriental hornet, Vespa orientalis. J Insect Physiol 15:1709–12Google Scholar
  10. Ishay J (1972) Thermoregulatory pheromones in wasps. Experientia 28:1185–1187Google Scholar
  11. Ishay J (1973) Thermoregulation by social wasps: behavior and pheromones. Trans NY Acad Sci Ser II 35:447–62Google Scholar
  12. Ishay J, Ikan R, Bergmann ED (1965) The presence of pheromones in the Oriental hornet, Vespa orientalis F. J Insect Physiol 11:1307–9Google Scholar
  13. Jeanne RL (1970) Chemical defense of brood by a social wasp. Science 168:1465–1466Google Scholar
  14. Jeanne RL (1975a) The adaptiveness of social wasp nest architecture. Q Rev Biol 50:267–287Google Scholar
  15. Jeanne RL (1975b) Behavior during swarm movement in Stelopolybia areata (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Psyche 82:259–265Google Scholar
  16. Jeanne RL (1981a) Alarm recruitment, attack behavior, and the role of the alarm pheromone in Polybia occidentalis (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 9:143–148Google Scholar
  17. Jeanne RL (1981b) Chemical communication during swarm emigration in the social wasp Polybia sericea (Olivier). Anim Behav 29:102–113Google Scholar
  18. Jeanne RL (1982) Evidence for an alarm substance in Polistes canadensis. Experientia 38:329–330Google Scholar
  19. Jeanne RL, Post DC (1982) Richards' gland and associated cuticular modifications in social wasps of the genus Polybia Lepeletier (Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Polistinae: Polybiini). Insectes Soc 29:280–294Google Scholar
  20. Koeniger N (1975) Experimentelle Untersuchung über das Wärmen der Brut bei Vespa crabro und Apis mellifica. Verh Dtsch Zool Ges 1975:148Google Scholar
  21. Kojima J (1982) Notes on rubbing behavior in Ropalidia gregaria (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). New Entomol 31(1):17–19Google Scholar
  22. Landolt J, Akre RD (1979) Occurrence and location of exocrine glands in some social Vespidae. Ann Entomol Soc Am 72:141–48Google Scholar
  23. Litte M (1979) Mischocyttarus flavitarsis in Arizona: social and nesting biology of a polistine wasp. Z Tierpsychol 50:282–312Google Scholar
  24. Litte M (1981) Social biology of the polistine wasp Mischocyttarus labiatus: survival in a Colombian rain forest. Smithsonian Contr Zool 327, 27 ppGoogle Scholar
  25. Marino Piccioli M, Pardi L (1970) Studi sulla biologia di Belonogaster (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). I. Sullétogramma di Belonogaster griseus (Fab). Monitore Zool Ital (NS) Suppl 39:197–225Google Scholar
  26. Maschwitz U (1964) Gefahrenalarmstoffe und Gefahrenalarmierung bei sozialen Hymenopteren. Z Vgl Physiol 47:496–655Google Scholar
  27. Naumann M (1975) Swarming behavior: evidence for communication in social wasps. Science 189:642–644Google Scholar
  28. Noirot C, Quennedey A (1974) Fine structure of insect epidermal glands. Ann Rev Entomol 19:61–80Google Scholar
  29. Overal WL, Simões D, Gobbi N (1981) Colony defense and sting autotomy in Polybia rejecta (F) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Rev Bras Ent 25:41–47Google Scholar
  30. Pagden HT (1976) A note on colony founding by Ropalidia (Icarielia) timida van der Vecht. Proc K Med Akad Wet (C) Biol Med Sci 79:508–509Google Scholar
  31. Post DC, Jeanne RL (1980) Morphology of the sternal glands of Polistes fuscatus and P. canadensis (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Psyche 87:49–58Google Scholar
  32. Post DC, Jeanne RL (1981) Colony defense against ants by Polistes fuscatus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in Wisconsin. J Kansas Entomol Soc 54:599–615Google Scholar
  33. Post DC, Jeanne RL (1982) Sternal glands in three species of male social wasps of the genus Mischocyttarus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). J NY Entomol Soc 90:8–15Google Scholar
  34. Post DC, Jeanne RL (1983a) Venom: source of a sex pheromone in the social wasp Polistes fuscatus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). J Chem Ecol 9:259–266Google Scholar
  35. Post DC, Jeanne RL (1983b) Sternal glands in males of six species of Polistes (Fuscopolistes) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). J Kansas Entomol Soc 56:32–39Google Scholar
  36. Post DC, Jeanne RL (1983c) Male reproductive behavior of the social wasp Polistes fuscatus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Z Tierpsychol 62:157–171Google Scholar
  37. Richards OW (1971) The biology of the social wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Biol Rev Cambridge Philos Soc 46:483–528Google Scholar
  38. Richards OW (1978a) The social wasps of the Americas excluding the Vespinae. Br Mus Nat Hist, London 580 ppGoogle Scholar
  39. Richards OW (1978b) The Australian social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). J Zool Suppl Ser 61:1–132Google Scholar
  40. Richardson KC, Jarett L, Finke EH (1960) Embedding in epoxy resins for ultrathin sectioning in electron microscopy. Stain Technol 35:313–323Google Scholar
  41. Spurr AR (1969) A low viscosity epoxy resin embedding medium for electron microscopy. J Ultrastructure Res 26:31–43Google Scholar
  42. Turillazzi S (1979) Tegumental glands in the abdomen of some European Polistes (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Monitore Zool Ital (NS) 13:67–70Google Scholar
  43. Turillazzi S, Ugolini A (1979) Rubbing behaviour in some European Polistes (Hymenoptera Vespidae). Monitore Zool Ital (NS) 13:129–142Google Scholar
  44. Vecht J van der (1968) The terminal gastral sternite of female and worker social wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Proc K ned Akad Wet Sect C 71(1):411–422Google Scholar
  45. Veith HJ, Koeniger N (1978) Identifizierung von cis-9-Pentacosen als Auslöser für das Wärmen der Brut bei der Hornisse. Naturwissenschaften 65:263Google Scholar
  46. West Eberhard MJ (1978) Polygyny and the evolution of social behavior in wasps. J Kansas Entomol Soc 51:832–856Google Scholar
  47. West Eberhard MJ (1982) The nature and evolution of swarming in tropical social wasps (Vespidae, Polistinae, Polybiini). In: Jaisson P (ed) Social Insects in the Tropics, Vol I. Univ Paris XIII Press, Paris, pp 97–128Google Scholar
  48. West Eberhard MJ (in press) Communication in social wasps: predicted and observed patterns, with a note on the significance of behavioral and ontogenetic flexibility for theories of worker “altruism”. Proc Coll Int, Union Int Etude Insectes Soc, Section Française, BarcelonaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. L. Jeanne
    • 1
  • H. A. Downing
    • 1
  • D. C. Post
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations