New study reveals amazingly complex evolution of wasps [VIDEO]

New study reveals amazingly complex evolution of wasps [VIDEO]

As we reported recently, scientists have released a new reconstructed video that shows just how wasps navigate, shedding more light on an amazing creature that has evolved into a seemingly simple yet very sophisticated insect. Professor Jochen Zeil from the Australian National University’s Research School of Biology, co-author of the study published in the journal […]

As we reported recently, scientists have released a new reconstructed video that shows just how wasps navigate, shedding more light on an amazing creature that has evolved into a seemingly simple yet very sophisticated insect.

Professor Jochen Zeil from the Australian National University’s Research School of Biology, co-author of the study published in the journal Current Biology, followed the flight of wasps and what direction they were facing, and then essentially created a video from the wasp’s point of view, showing that it takes “snapshots” of the landscape around it so it can find its way home later.

It shows that while wasps may seem to be simple creatures, and in some ways they are, they have evolved some amazing ways of creating a survival system that ensures that new colonies of wasps spring up year after year.

For one thing, wasps have evolved a highly unique stinger system. If you get stung by a wasp, expect others to follow. The venom that wasps have has a pheromone in it that drives other wasps crazy, attacking the stung individual. So if you do get stung, you better hope you’re not around a nest — if you are, time to run. The sting can be deadly for some people, as it can cause anaphylactic shock in some cases.

Male wasps can’t sting you — only the females can, and they can do it as much as they want. That’s because stingers are basically modified egg laying devices and therefore only females would have them. Unlike bees, they don’t die after a sting.

But in addition to having a highly evolved stinger and the ability to take snapshots of their surroundings, wasps have developed a fascinating system of survival despite their short lifespans. All wasps die in the winter, except for the young fertilized queens. This queen crawls somewhere nice and warm when winter sets in, perhaps a crevice deep in a shed or inside a rotting log. After winter is over, they crawl out and find a place to build a nest to put their eggs. Once the eggs are laid, they grow into larva, which then pupates into worker wasps, a three-week process. These worker wasps are depended on to find food, feed new larvae, and provide defense of the nest from attackers, and the process begins all over again.

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