BENGALURU: Wasps are selective about their space within their nests. Apart from exchanging food efficiently, this space is maintained to avoid the spread of infection, finds a study done by Indian Institute of Science.
This was reflected in a research paper ‘A place for everything and everything in its place: Spatial organisation of individuals on nests of the primitively eusocial wasp Ropalidia Marginata’ by PhD student Nitika Sharma and Raghavendra Gadagkar, DST Year of Science Chair Professor at Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc, published in ‘Proceedings of the Royal Society B’ recently.
The researchers studied the primitively eusocial Indian paper wasp (Ropalidia marginata) that “live in small paper nests and whose tasks are distributed randomly, yet they found non-random space use”.
The researchers used a mathematical technique to demarcate spaces in the nests where wasps spent over 50 per cent of their time. This space was less than 50 per cent of the area of the nest for most of them, suggesting real preference.
Sharma and Gadagkar tested five hypotheses that were used to understand ants and honeybees but finally zeroed down on two reasons for the non-random space-efficient food transfer among adults and help in avoiding the spread of infection.