Possible adaptivity and mechanisms of nest construction of a paper wasp, Polistes dominulus, were studied by analyses of nest structures and modeling. Results suggest that nests are not built in agreement with the currently accepted 'economy material usage' hypothesis because (1) the number of natural forms is much less than expected under this criterion, and (2) there are non-optimal structures. Maximization of nest compactness is a new hypothesis that better predicts natural structures. By examining the predictions of different building rules and comparing model-generated structures to natural nests, we found that the nest structure provides sufficient (quantitative) information for governing the building process on (or very near) the optimal path. We assume that non-optimal natural forms are the consequence of rules of thumb being used by wasps during construction. A family of rules based on information on the age of cells was able to account for all natural forms, including the assumed optimal and non-optimal forms.
- Construction behavior
- Social wasps
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology