Submitted to: Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/13/2017
Publication Date: 11/19/2017
Citation: Elmquist, D.C., Landolt, P.J., Ream, L.J., Cha, D.H. 2017. Laboratory demonstrations of pheromone-mediated scent-marking, orientation, and mounting behavior in Polistes exclamans Vienick (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 111(1):21-30.
Interpretive Summary: Social wasps are a stinging hazard, including in many fruit cropping systems where they also do direct feeding damage to trees and fruits, and at tall structures such as towers where some species form mating and overwintering aggregations. Chemical attractants are of use against these wasps as lures for traps and baits. Researchers at the USDA-ARS Laboratory in Wapato, WA, evaluated responses of reproductive stage paper wasps (Polistes exclamans) to extracts and volatile samples from males and females to determine possible pheromone behavior and demonstrated sex attraction and copulatory responses to natural pheromone sources. This work provides a basis for isolation and identification of male-produced and female-produced pheromones of paper wasps that should be useful for mitigating pest circumstances.
Technical Abstract: A combination of arena, Y-tube olfactometer, and flight tunnel assays were used to determine responses of male and reproductive female Polistes exclamans Vierick to odors and extracts of conspecific males and females, as potential pheromone-mediated sexual behaviors. Males rubbed the sternites of the gaster on filter paper in response to extracts of the female mesosoma and gaster, indicating possible scent-marking. In a Y-tube olfactometer, females oriented to extracts of the male head, gaster, legs, 7th sternite, and mandibular glands. In the olfactometer, males oriented to extracts of the female whole body, but were repelled by extracts of the female head. Both females and males oriented to solvent washes of glass jars that held wasps of the opposite sex, as well as volatile collections from the opposite sex. In a flight tunnel, males and females both exhibited chemoanemotaxis that consisted of upwind flight and close range casting in response to odor piped into the tunnel from live wasps of the opposite sex. Males mounted a female wasp model treated with an extract of the female mesosoma. Together, these experiments suggest pheromones that stimulate male scent-marking, attraction of females to males and males to females, and mounting, in P. exclamans. Results indicate the mesosoma as a source of female pheromones, and the legs, gastral sternal glands, and mandibular glands, as male pheromone sources.