Local enhancement has been shown to occur in the social wasp Vespula germanica (F.), a species that feeds on live insects as well as on dead animals. Some studies suggest local enhancement is based on sight, whereas others suggest that odors emanating from wasp bodies are more important in attracting conspecifc workers to a food source. We studied whether the attraction of V. germanica foragers to meat baits increases by the addition of live conspecific foragers and analyzed which cues (olfactory and visual) elicit this attraction. Our results show that the combination of meat and wasps strongly enhances the attraction of conspecific foragers. Presenting both visual and olfactory cues together leads to a wasp response that is much greater than if isolated visual or isolated olfactory cues were added, suggesting some synergistic action of both cues.
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Vol. 96 • No. 5