Professor Jeremy Field will give the this year’s Brad Ashby Memorial Lecture entitled Extended parental care and joint nesting in a UK digger wasp. Professor Field heads a team at Sussex University which focuses on the behavioural and evolutionary ecology of social systems, using wasps and bees as model systems.
Extended parental care and joint nesting in a UK digger wasp
Nest-building Hymenoptera are unusual among insects in providing their offspring with parental care. Examples are nest-building wasps, in which offspring are provisioned by their mothers using paralysed arthropods. Ammophila pubescens is a relatively large digger wasp found on heather-dominated heathland in southern England. Females normally nest alone, digging nest burrows in sandy soil. Each burrow contains a single offspring, which is provisioned by the mother using lepidopteran caterpillars. An unusual feature of the nesting biology, more commonly associated with social wasps and bees, is that larvae are fed progressively as they grow, with more than one burrow being maintained at the same time. In my lecture, I will first discuss why A. pubescens exhibits progressive provisioning. I will then talk about on-going observations and experiments aimed at understanding why some offspring are fed by more than one adult female.
The lecture is the major part of the annual joint meeting with the London Natural History Society, this year hosted by the BENHS in Lecture Theatre 2.28 in the Royal School of Mines building at Imperial College. The entrance is in Prince Consort Road (about ten minutes walk from South Kensington underground station). The evening starts at 18.00 with the lecture beginning at 18.30. Exhibits and communications are very welcome.
Full details of other meetings can be found on the Indoor meetings page