Journal Article

Bait and Habitat Preferences, and Temporal Variability of Social Wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) Attracted to Vertebrate Carrion

in Journal of Medical Entomology

Published on behalf of Entomological Society of America

Volume 48, issue 5, pages 1069-1075
Published in print September 2011 | ISSN: 0022-2585
Published online November 2014 | e-ISSN: 1938-2928 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/ME11068

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In addition to feeding on carrion tissues and fluids, social wasps can also prey on immature and adult carrion flies, thereby reducing their populations and retarding the decomposition process of carcasses. In this study, we report on the occurrence and behavior of social wasps attracted to vertebrate carrion. The collections were made monthly from September 2006 to October 2007 in three environments (rural, urban, and forest) in six municipalities of southeast Brazil, using baited bottle traps. We collected Agelaia pallipes (Olivier, 1791) (n = 143), Agelaia vicina (Saussure, 1854) (n = 106), Agelaia multipicta (Haliday, 1836) (n = 18), and Polybia paulista Ihering, 1896 (n = 3). The wasps were observed feeding directly on the baits and preying on adult insects collected in the traps. Bait and habitat associations, temporal variability of social wasps, and possible forensic implications of their actions are discussed.

Keywords: Agelaia; Epiponini; forensic entomology; necrophagy; Polybia

Journal Article.  3985 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Disease Ecology and Epidemiology ; Entomology

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