Colony cycle of an Australian swarm-founding paper wasp,Ropalidia romandi (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

Summary

Colonies of an Australian swarm founding polistine wasp,Ropalidia romandi, on the Atherton Tableland, Queensland, manage perennial nests by practicing seasonal colony activity. In “summer” nests, most cells were occupied by immatures of all developmental stages. The proportion of cells that did not contain immatures increased towards “winter”, when most nest cells did not contain immatures and half of these “winter” nests had rather large amounts of nectar deposited in empty cells. While the visits to tree flowers byR. romandi were not frequent in “summer”, nearly 60 % of insects collected on tree flowers in “winter” wereR. romandi. With such seasonal switching in the modes of colony reproductive activity and of nectar foraging behavior,R. romandi responds to its physical and biotic environment. In this way,R. romandi may be able to continue colonies throughout the year, with much reduced level of colony activity in “winter”, in areas with seasons that are unfavorable for reproductive activity of a colony.

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Kojima, J. Colony cycle of an Australian swarm-founding paper wasp,Ropalidia romandi (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Ins. Soc 43, 411–420 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01258413

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Key words

  • Swarm founding
  • perennial colony
  • “winter” population
  • nectar deposition
  • seasonal reproductive activity