What is it about?

Social wasp are amongst most feared insects. The species P. paulista, locally known as 'Paulistinha' is one of the commonest aggressive wasps around Brazil. There are few -- actually, close to none --, published studies presenting details about the youngest life stages and development of wasps. This one is one of these jewels. Herein, you will find the finest details about early development phases of the Paulistinha wasps, as well as an estimation of their duration and notes about other related species and studies.

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Why is it important?

Understanding insect development is key to advancing entomological research. For some reason, most colleagues find larvae dull and poorly useful, and this resulted in a fragmented literature about insect larvae, in general. Reality couldn't be further from this prejudicial impression, particularly regarding social insect biology. The larvae of social insects lie at the base of their societies. The nests of wasp, ants, are nothing but nursery facilities. As adults can't eat solid food directly, they must serve their larvae first, from which they sip liquids. That said, larvae are the stomachs of social insect societies, and colleagues for some reason neglected them. This is how this description is important.

Perspectives

Understanding insect development is key to rationalising their life cycle. The description of wasps larvae provides fundamental knowledge for understanding their biology, designing experimentation protocols, establishing evolutionary relationships. We are keen to hear from other colleagues how the present paper has helped them in their research with this and other related Hymenoptera species.

Dr Eduardo G P Fox
IBCCF / UFRJ

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: External Morphology of the Immatures ofPolybia paulista(Hymenoptera: Vespidae), Florida Entomologist, December 2012, Florida Entomological Society, DOI: 10.1653/024.095.0411.
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