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Caste differentiation and seasonal changes in Vespa velutina (Hym.: Vespidae) colonies in its introduced range

Abstract : Since its introduction in France 10 years ago, the yellow-legged hornet, Vespa velutina, has rapidly spread to neighbouring countries (Spain, Portu-gal, Belgium, Italy and Germany). It showed efficient social traits facilitating its invasive success. Only scarce and incomplete natural history studies were known from its native distribution area. Studying the biology of this species in its invasive distribution range was thus a prerequisite to the implementation of efficient control methods in a near future. During a 3-year field survey, we collected 77 nests to investigate several of the species' key colony characteristics. Our results enabled us to accurately quantify each of the castes and to better understand their synchronicity throughout the season. Our study showed that mature nests are able to produce up to 13 000 individuals and that the size of mature nests is correlated to the number of individuals produced. This correlation enables the inference of one characteristic from the other. Furthermore, each mature nest can produce up to several hundreds of potential founder queens, a crucial datum in the light of today's unregulated spring queen trapping control campaigns. In addition, nest dissections enabled to record the incidence of nest relocation for the first time in this species. Results are discussed with regards to what is known in other Vespidae species, with a focus on Vespula species that are known to be invasive in many other countries worldwide.
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Contributor : Aicha Belloufi <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 10:28:49 AM
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Q Rome, A Touret-Alby, E Darrouzet, A Perrard, J. Muller, et al.. Caste differentiation and seasonal changes in Vespa velutina (Hym.: Vespidae) colonies in its introduced range. Journal of Applied Entomology, Wiley, 2015, 139 (10), pp.771-784. ⟨10.1111/jen.12210⟩. ⟨hal-01309918⟩



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