Activity schedule and foraging in Protopolybia sedula (Hymenoptera, Vespidae)

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Protopolybia sedula is a social swarming wasp, widely spread throughout many countries in the Americas, including most of Brazil. Despite its distribution, studies of its behavioral ecology are scarce. This study aimed to describe its foraging activity and relation to climatic variables in the city of Juiz de Fora in southeastern Brazil. Three colonies were under observation between 07:00 and 18:00 during April 2012, January 2013, and March 2013. Every 30 minutes, the number of foragers leaving and returning to the colony was registered along with air temperature and relative humidity. Activity began around 07:30¸ increased between 10:30 and 14:30, and ended around 18:30. A mean of 52.7 exits and 54 returns were measured every 30 minutes. The daily mean values were 1,107 ± 510.6 exits and 1,135 ± 854.8 returns. Only one colony showed a significant correlation between forager exits and temperature (rs = 0.8055; P < 0.0001) and between exits and relative humidity (rs = -0.7441; P = 0.0001). This paper shows that climatic variables are likely to have little control on the foraging rhythm of P. sedula when compared to other species, suggesting the interaction of other external and internal factors as stimuli of species foraging behavior
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Archival date: 2016-08-07
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