A Unique Nest-Protection Strategy in a New Species of Spider Wasp

Created at: 2013-10-18

Initial title: A Chinese Wall of Ants

Envisaged journal: Staab, M., Ohl, M., Zhu, C. D., & Klein, A. M. (2014). A Unique Nest-Protection Strategy in a New Species of Spider Wasp. PloS one, 9(7), e101592.

Envisaged date: 2014-07-02


Hymenoptera show a great variation in reproductive potential and nesting behavior, from thousands of eggs in sawflies to just a dozen in nest-provisioning wasps. Reduction in reproductive potential in evolutionary derived Hymenoptera is often facilitated by advanced behavioral mechanisms and nesting strategies. Here we describe a surprising nesting behavior that was previously unknown in the entire animal kingdom: the use of a vestibular cell filled with dead ants in a new spider wasp (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae) species collected with trap nests in South-East China. We scientifically describe the ‘Bone-house Wasp’ as Deuteragenia ossarium sp. nov., named after graveyard bone-houses or ossuaries. We show that D. ossarium nests are less vulnerable to natural enemies than nests of other sympatric trap-nesting wasps, suggesting an effective nest protection strategy, most likely by utilizing chemical cues emanating from the dead ants.


No datasets are linked to this paperproposal.

Calculated Authors

Michael Staab Alexandra-Maria Klein Chao_Dong ZHU, Prof.

Data request state

Preparation Project Board Finished