Nestmate recognition in Parischnogaster striatula (hymenoptera stenogastrinae), visual and olfactory recognition cues

P. Zanetti, F. R. Dani, S. Destri, Daniele Fanelli, A. Massolo, G. Moneti, G. Pieraccini, S. Turillazzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The recognition of nestmates from alien individuals is a well known phenomenon in social insects. In the stenogastrine wasp Parischnogaster striatula, we investigated the ability of females to recognize nestmates and the cues on which such recognition is based. Recognition of nestmates was observed in naturally occurring interactions between wasps approaching a nest and the resident females on that nest. This recognition was confirmed in experiments in which nestmates or alien conspecifics were presented to resident females. In naturally occurring interactions, nestmates generally approach their nest with a direct flight, while aliens usually hover in front of the nest before landing. In experiments in which the presented wasps were placed close to the nest in a direct manner, antennation of the presented wasp generally occurred, indicating that chemical cues are involved. Experiments in which dead alien individuals, previously washed in hexane, and then reapplied with extracts were recognized by colonies giving further evidence that chemical cues mediate nestmate recognition. Epicuticular lipids, known to be nestmate recognition cues in social insects, were chemically analysed by GC-MS for 44 P. striatula females from two different populations (13 different colonies). Discriminant analysis was performed on the data for the lipid mixture composition. The discriminant model showed that, in the samples from these two populations, 68.2% and 81.9% of the specimens could be correctly assigned to their colony.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1020
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2001


  • Epicuticular lipids
  • Recognition pheromones
  • Social wasp
  • Stenogastrine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science


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