Brad Ashby Memorial Lecture: Extended parental care and joint nesting in a UK digger wasp

01 October 2014 18:00 - 21:00

Location: Lecture Theatre 2.28, Royal School of Mines Building, Imperial College (entrance in Prince Consort Road), London, UK.

Event description

Joint Meeting held by BENHS and the London Natural History Society. Professor Jeremy Field, who heads a team at Sussex University which focuses on the behavioural and evolutionary ecology of social systems, using wasps and bees as model systems, will give this year's Brad Ashby Memorial Lecture entitled "Extended parental care and joint nesting in a UK digger wasp".

Nest-building Hymenoptera are unusual among insects in providing their offspring with parental care. Examples are nest-building wasps, in which offspring are provisioned by their mothers using paralysed arthropods. Ammophila pubescens is a relatively large digger wasp found on heather-dominated heathland in southern England. Females normally nest alone, digging nest burrows in sandy soil. Each burrow contains a single offspring, which is provisioned by the mother using lepidopteran caterpillars. An unusual feature of the nesting biology, more commonly associated with social wasps and bees, is that larvae are fed progressively as they grow, with more than one burrow being maintained at the same time.

Professor Jeremy Field will first discuss why A. pubescens exhibits progressive provisioning and will then talk about on-going observations and experiments aimed at understanding why some offspring are fed by more than one adult female.

Organisation details

This event was not organised by the AES. Please contact the event organiser if you have any queries.

Event organiser: British Entomological and Natural History Society

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