Regulation of Nest Construction Behaviour and Nest Development in Vespine Wasps With Special Reference to Dolichovespula norwegica and D. sylvestris

Cole, Mark Robert (1998) Regulation of Nest Construction Behaviour and Nest Development in Vespine Wasps With Special Reference to Dolichovespula norwegica and D. sylvestris. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 10992304.pdf] PDF
Download (87MB)


The objective of this thesis was to examine various aspects of behavioural regulation of nest construction in Vespine wasps. This was achieved by examining nest structure principally in colonies of Dolichovespula sylvestris and Dolichovespula norwegica at various developmental stages. Some aspects of nest construction behaviour were also examined in Vespula vulgaris. The construction of the envelope requires a large investment in the time and resources of the colony. As the principal function of envelope is nest insulation, the amount constructed should reflect the requirement of the colony for thermoregulation. The thickness and number of layers of envelope constructed in nests of D. sylvestris and D. norwegica was found to increase with colony development, reaching a peak near the end of the lifecycle and when production of reproductives is at a maximum. Spradbery (1973) and Edwards (1980) claimed that small Vespine nests have proportionally thicker envelopes than large nests. The findings of this project did not agree with this claim and envelope thickness was found to increase linearly with nest diameter. This resulted from the allocation of a constant proportion of material to comb and envelope construction through colony development. The increase in envelope thickness is achieved by adding additional layers, while maintaining a constant gap between them. As the principal function of the envelope is insulation, temperature may act as a cue regulating its construction. Potter (1964) found evidence that the rate of foraging for pulp in V. vulgaris was affected by nest temperature. He did not, however, determine if this pulp was used in the construction of comb or envelope. A heated nest box and entrance trap were therefore developed to determine if environmental factors, such as temperature, affect the rate at which envelope is constructed. The nest box was successful in maintaining a colony of D. sylvestris transferred from the field. It was also capable of maintaining a range of temperatures selected by the experimenter of up to 35

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: M Hansell
Keywords: Entomology, Ecology
Date of Award: 1998
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1998-74682
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2019 17:11
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 17:11

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year