Next Article in Journal
Tonantzin, a New Genus of Bess Beetle (Coleoptera, Passalidae) from a Montane Subtropical Forest in Central Mexico, with a Review of the Taxonomic Significance of the Mesofrontal Structure in Proculini
Previous Article in Journal
Reduced Glutamine Synthetase Activity Alters the Fecundity of Female Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel)
Open AccessArticle

The Thermoregulatory Behavior of Nectar Foraging Polistine Wasps (Polistes dominula and Polistes gallicus) in Different Climate Conditions

Institute of Biology, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2019, 10(7), 187;
Received: 23 May 2019 / Revised: 14 June 2019 / Accepted: 22 June 2019 / Published: 27 June 2019
PDF [2476 KB, uploaded 27 June 2019]


Polistine wasps collect nectar for their energetic demand and for the provision of the brood. They are mainly ectothermic during different behavioral tasks. We investigated the body temperature of two species living in differing habitats and climate regions, in order to reveal the environmental influence on their thermoregulatory behavior. The species were Polistes dominula in the temperate climate of Central Europe, and Polistes gallicus in the warm Mediterranean climate of Southern Europe. The wasp’s body temperature was measured during foraging on lovage (Levisticum officinale) and fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) by infrared thermography in the entire ambient temperature range they are usually exposed to (Ta ~ 20–40 °C). The temperature of all body parts increased nearly linearly with ambient temperature, with the thorax as the warmest part. To achieve optimal foraging temperatures, they preferably use solar radiation. An “operative temperature model” enabled the evaluation of the endothermic effort. Polistes dominula foraging on lovage exhibited no endothermic activity. However, while foraging on fennel they had a weak and almost constant endothermic performance of about 1 °C. Polistes gallicus, by contrast, exhibited mostly no or only minor endothermy during foraging. Both wasps avoid a high energetic effort and this way reduce their foraging costs. View Full-Text
Keywords: Polistes; thermoregulation; foraging; operative temperature; climate Polistes; thermoregulation; foraging; operative temperature; climate

Figure 1

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 (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Kovac, H.; Käfer, H.; Stabentheiner, A. The Thermoregulatory Behavior of Nectar Foraging Polistine Wasps (Polistes dominula and Polistes gallicus) in Different Climate Conditions. Insects 2019, 10, 187.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Insects EISSN 2075-4450 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top