Colony cycle, foundation strategy and nesting biology of a Neotropical paper wasp
SINZATO,DANIELLE M. S
DE SOUZA,ANDRÉ R
Polistes ferreri Saussure, 1853 is a Neotropical paper wasp often found in anthropic environments. However, there is little information available on biological, ecological and behavioral interactions of this species under these environmental conditions. This study investigated the colony cycle, foundation strategy and nesting biology of this species. From March of 2000 to February of 2004, several colonies were studied in the municipal district of Juiz de Fora, in southeastern Brazil. The colony cycle events of P. ferreri are concentrated in specific periods of the year. The colonies are established principally by association of females, the latter is the foundation strategy that confers the greatest success. Nidification on manmade substrates seems common for the species. The peduncle of the nest is increased in width to support the weight of colony members. Likewise, cells are increased in height, in accordance with the size of the layers of meconium, allowing accommodation of the immature. It is suggested that, at least for post-emergent colonies of P. ferreri, the cost of nest construction is not a factor limiting the development of the colonies. Finally, the results also support the idea that the reuse of cells is an advantageous strategy because it saves costs related to the construction of new cells.