Alien Wasps Abduct, Drop Ants to Get Food
When competing for food with an ant swarm, a wasp will pluck an ant from the pile, fly away, and drop the insect, a new study says.
In an experiment done with wild insects, scientists in New Zealand recently witnessed the common wasp, an alien invader to the island country, competing for food with the native ant species Prolasius advenus.
When a wasp approached a mound of food swarming with ants, the wasp would pluck an ant from the pile, fly a ways off, and drop the still-living insect from its jaws.
"To the best of our knowledge, this behavior has never been described before," said study co-author Julien Grangier, a biologist at Victoria University of Wellington.
(Related: "Parasitic Wasp Swarm Unleashed to Fight Pests.")
Common wasps (Vespula vulgaris) are native to North America