Research Highlights | Published:

Zoology

Wasps build charnel houses

Nature volume 511, page 129 (10 July 2014) | Download Citation

Subjects

A newly described species of wasp protects its nest with the corpses of dead ants.

Michael Staab of the University of Freiburg in Germany and his colleagues placed artificial nests for solitary wasps in the Zhejiang region of China. Of the 829 nests they later collected, 73 had an outer chamber filled with dead ants, as well as several inner chambers containing a paralysed spider for each wasp larva to feed on. This new species (Deuteragenia ossarium sp. nov.) seemed less vulnerable to parasites than wasps using similar but ant-less nests. The authors suggest this 'bone-house wasp' uses the ants as a nest-protection strategy.

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/511129a

Authors

    Comments

    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing