PLOS ONE (2022). DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0267958 “width =” 800 “height =” 530 “/>

Illustrative presentation of different stages of brood development in the nest of Isodontia harmandi. Stage of development [I]eggs, which are laid separately for each prey by female wasps; [II]hatched, appeared and began to eat their own prey; [III]larvae of medium size that move and absorb both prey in the brood cell; [IV], adult larvae ate almost all prey; and [V], almost all larvae weaved their own cocoons. Credit: PLOS ONE (2022). DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0267958

A couple of researchers from Kobe College found that in one species the wasp cannibalization of sibling larvae is common. In his study published in PLOS ONEYui Imasaki and Tomodi Enda describe insects and what they learned about their eating habits when they were still larvae.


Most bees and wasps mature in individual brood cells in the hive, but one species the wasp takes a different approach – the female lays fertilized eggs inside the carcass of a dead insect and then pushes all the work into a closed chamber such as a bamboo stalk. Up to 12 eggs may have time to hatch larvae. After hatching, they begin to eat the dead carcass around them, and then other food that the mother stuffed into the chamber before sealing it. In many cases, the researchers found, there was not enough food in the cell to feed all the larvae, forcing some of them to feed on their siblings.

The researchers studied wasp species between 2010 and 2015. They assembled bamboo chambers with wasp eggs, returned them to their lab and watched the larvae hatch from the eggs. Part of their work involved counting how many larvae hatched and how many remained in the chamber as they matured in adults. They also noted how much food was placed in the cell.

In total, the researchers monitored the growth of 39 broods. They found cannibalism at 30. They also found that such activities usually involve larger, more mature larvae that eat the smaller, less mature brother. They also noted that the process was not aggressive – instead the victim tried to surrender without a fight. The researchers also found that the difference between cannibal broods and others was in the amount of food the mother gave compared to the amount eggs she deposited. Larvae resorted to cannibalism only when they ran out of food.


It was found that the wasp-guardian of the cellar parasitizes on several species of bile wasps


Additional information:
Yui Imasaki et al., Breeding reduction caused by cannibalism in Isodontia harmandi (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae), a solitary species of wasp that builds common cells for breeding, PLOS ONE (2022). DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0267958

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Citation: a type of wasp that cannibalizes the larvae of its siblings (2022, May 23), obtained May 23, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-05-wasp-cannibalizes-sibling-larvae.html

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