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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
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Insects 2019, 10(7), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10070187
Received: 23 May 2019 / Revised: 14 June 2019 / Accepted: 22 June 2019 / Published: 27 June 2019
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Abstract

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
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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.

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