Effect of Human Disturbance on Colony Productivity of the Social Wasp Polistes versicolor Olivier (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

Romario Ferreira Torres, Viviana de Oliveira Torres, Yzel Rondon Súarez, William Fernando Antonialli-Junior


Currently, the main impacts on biodiversity are generated by human activities in natural environments. Monitoring the number of species of social wasps nesting attached to buildings is important to evaluate the effect of this activity on colony productivity. This study evaluated the effect of human activity on the productivity of colonies of the wasp Polistes versicolor. We evaluated 20 abandoned nests and compared the productivity parameters: number of cells constructed, number of adults produced, nest dry mass, proportion of productive cells, number of generations, height of central and peripheral cells, and diameter of the petiole. Most of these parameters showed higher values in the colonies nesting in the area of low human activity. Therefore, productivity was significantly higher in the area with low human activity. In the nests, regardless of the site, the cells that were central and closer to the petiole were the most productive. Colonies in the two areas used different strategies: in the area of intense human activity, the wasps invested more in reusing cells than in enlarging the nest. However, the species continues to nest in the urban area, probably because of decreased interspecific competition, predation, and interference from climate variations.


Nest, Independent foundation, Polistinae, Reutilization of cells, Synanthropy.

Full Text:



Abensperg-Traun, M. & Smith, G.T. (2000). How small is too small for small animals? Four terrestrial arthropod species in different-sized remnant woodlands in agricultural Western Australia. Biodiversity and Conservation, 8: 709-726.

Anjos, N., Santos G.P. & Zanuncio, J.C. (1986). Pragas do eucalipto e seu controle. Informe Agropecuário, 12(141): 50-58.

Butignol, C.A. (1992). Observações sobre a bionomia da vespa predadora Polistes versicolor (Oliver, 1791) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) em Florianópolis/SC. Anais da Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil, 21: 201-206.

Carpenter, J.M. & Marques O.M. (2001). Contribuição ao estudo dos vespídeos do Brasil (Insecta, Hymenoptera, Vespoidae, Vespidae). Cruz das Almas, Universidade Federal da Bahia. Publicações Digitais, 2: 147p.

Clapperton, C. (2000). Interhemispheric synchroneity of Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage 2 glacier fluctuations along the American cordilleras transect. Journal of Quaternary Science, 435-468. DOI: 10.1002/1099-1417(200005)15:4<435::AID-JQS552>3.0.CO;2-R

Downing, H.A. & Jeanne, R.L. (1986). Intra- and interspecific variation in nest architecture in the paper wasp Polistes (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Insectes Sociaux, 33: 422-443.

Fowler, H.G. (1983). Human effects on nest suvivorship of urban synanthropic wasps. Urban Ecology, 7: 137-147. DOI:10.1016/0304-4009(83)90032-3

Gamboa, G. J. (1978). Intraspecific defense: advantage of social cooperation among paper wasp foundresses. Science, 199: 1463-1465. DOI:10.1126/science.199.4336.1463

Gamboa, G.J., Austin, J.A. & Monnet, K.M. (2005). Effects of different habitats on the productivity of the native paper wasp Polistes fuscatus and the invasive, exotic paper wasp P. dominulus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Great Lakes Entomology, 38: 170-176.

Giannotti, E. (1997). Biology of the wasp Polistes (Epicnemius) cinerascens Saussure (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Anais da Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil, 26: 61-66.

Giannotti, E. (1999). Arquitetura de ninhos de Mischocyttarus cerberus styx Richards, 1940 (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Revista Brasileira Zoociências, 1: 7-18.

Giannotti, E. & Mansur, C.B. (1993). Dispersion and foundation of new colonies in Polistes versicolor (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Anais da Sociedade Entomologica do Brasil, 22: 307-316.

Gobbi, N. & Zucchi, R. A. (1985). On the ecology of Polistes versicolor (Olivier) in southern Brazil (Hymenoptera, Vespidae, Polistini). Phenological Account. Naturalia, 5: 97-104.

Gobbi, N, Fowler, H.G., Chaud-Netto, J., Nazareth, S.L. (1993). Comparative colony productivity of Polistes simillimus and Polistes versicolor (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) and the evolution of paragyny in the Polistinae. Zoologische Jahrbucher-Abteilung Fur Allgemeine Zoologie Und Physiologie Der Tiere, 97: 1-5.

Gould, W.P. & Jeanne, R.L. (1984). Polistes wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) as control agents for Lepidopterous cabbage pests. Environmental Entomology, 13: 150-156.

Inagawa, K., Kojima, J., Sayama, K & Tsuchida, K. (2001). Colony productivity of the paper wasp Polistes snelleni: comparison between cool-temperate and warm-temperate populations. Insectes Sociaux, 48: 259-265. doi: 10.1007/PL00001775

Jeanne, R.L. (1972). Social biology of Neotropical wasp Mischocyttarus drewseni. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology - Harvard, 144(3): 63-150.

Judd, T.M. (1998). Defensive behavior of colonies of the paper wasp, Polistes fuscatus, against vertebrate predators over the colony cycle. Insectes Sociaux, 45: 197-208. doi: 10.1007/s000400050080

Lima, M.A.P., Lima, J.R. & Prezoto, F. (2000). Levantamento dos gêneros, flutuação das colônias e hábitos de nidificação de vespas sociais (Hymenoptera, Vespidae), no campus da UFJF, Juiz de Fora, MG. Revista Brasileira de Zoociências, 2: 69-80.

McGlynn, P.T. (2012). The ecology of nest movement in social insects. Annual Review of Entomology, 57: 291-308. doi: 10.1146/annurev-ento-120710-100708

Mead, F. & Pratte, M. (2002). Prey supplementation increases productivity in the social wasp Polistes dominulus Christ (Hymenoptera Vespidae). Ethology, Ecology and Evolution, 14: 111-128. doi: 10.1080/08927014.2002.9522750

Michelutti, K.B., Montagna, T.S. & Antonialli-Junior, W.F. (2013). Effect of habitat disturbance on colony productivity of the social wasp Mischocyttarus consimilis Zikán (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Sociobiology, 60: 96-100. doi: 10.13102/sociobiology.v60i1

Montagna, T.S., Torres, V.O., Fernandes, W.D. & Antonialli-Junior, W.F. (2010). Nest architecture, colony productivity, and duration of immature stages in a social wasp, Mischocyttarus consimilis. Journal of Insect Science, 10: 1-10.

Nadeau, H. & Stamp, N. (2003). Effect of prey quantity and temperature on nest demography of social wasps. Ecological Entomology, 28: 328-339. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2311.2003.00514.x

New, T.R. (2005). Invertebrate conservation and agricultural ecosystems. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univertsity Press. xiii+354p.

Oliveira, S.A., De Castro, M.M. & Prezoto, F. (2010). Foundation pattern, productivity and colony sucess of the paper wasp Polistes versicolor. Journal of Insect Science, 10: 125. doi: 10.1673/031.010.12501

Penna, M.A.H., Goobi, N., Giacomini, H.C. (2007). Comparative productivity of Mischocyttarus cerberus styx (Richards, 1940) and Mischocyttarus cassununga Saussure (von Ihering, 1903) in an anthropic environment as evaluation for differences in ecological strategies. Revista Brasileira de Zoociências, 9: 205-212.

Prezoto, F., Santos-Prezoto, H.H., Machado, V.L.L., & Zanúncio, J.C. (2006). Prey Captured and Used in Polistes versicolor (Olivier) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) Nourishment. Neotropical Entomology, 35: 707-709. doi: 10.1590/S1519-566X2006000500021

Prezoto, F., Ribeiro-Júnior, C., Oliveira-Cortes, S.A. & Elisei, T. (2007). Manejo de vespas e marimbondos em ambiente urbano, p. 123-126. In: A. S. Pinto; M. N. Rossi & E. Salmeron (eds.) Manejo de Pragas Urbanas. Piracicaba: CP 2, 208p.

Ramos, F.A. & Diniz, I.R. (1993). Seasonal cycles, survivorship and growth of colonies of Polistes versicolor (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) in the urban area of Brasilia, Brazil. Entomologist, 112(3-4): 191-200.

Raupp, M.J., Shrewsbury, P.M., Herms, D. A. (2010). Ecology of herbivorous arthropods in urban landscapes. Annual Review of Entomology, 55: 19-38. doi: 10.1146/annurev-ento-112408-085351

Richards, O.W. (1978). The Social Wasps of the Americas, excluding the Vespinae. London, British Museum, Natural History, 580p

Samways, M.J. (2005). Insect diversity conservation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 342p

Samways, M.J. (2007). Insect Conservation: A synthetic management approach. Annual Review of Entomology, 52: 465-487. doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.52.110405.091317.

Sinzato, D.M.S. & Prezoto, F. (2000). Aspectos comportamentais de fêmeas dominantes e subordinadas de Polistes versicolor Olivier,1791 (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) em colônias na fase de fundação. Revista de etologia, 2(2): 121-127.

Sinzato, D.M.S., Andrade, F.R., De Souza, A.R.; Del-Claro, K. & Prezoto, F. (2011). Colony cycle, foundation strategy and nesting biology of a Neotropical paper wasp. Revista Chilena de História Natural, 84: 357-363. doi: 10.4067/S0716-078X2011000300004

Santos, G.M.M. & Gobbi, N. (1998). Nesting habits and colonial productivity of Polistes canadensis canadensis (L.) (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) in a Caatinga area, Bahia State, Brazil. Journal of Advanced Zoology, 19: 63-69.

Schowalter, T.D. (2012). Insect responses to major landscape-level disturbance. Annual Review of Entomology, 57: 1-20. doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-120710-100610.

Tibbetts, E.A . & Reeve, H.K. (2003). Benefits of foundress associations in the paper wasp Polistes dominulus: increased productivity and survival, but no assurance of fitness returns. Behavioral Ecology, 14: 510-514. doi: 10.1093/beheco/arg037

Zanuncio, J.C., Batista, L.G, Zanuncio, T.V., Vilela, E.F. & Pereira, J.F. (1991). Levantamento e flutuação de lepidópteros associados à eucaliptocultura: VIII - Região de Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, junho de 1989 a maio de 1990. Revista Árvore, 15: 83-93.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v61i1.100-106


  • There are currently no refbacks.

JCR Impact Factor 2018: 0.604