Royal Society Publishing

Looking and Learning: A Spatial Pattern in the Orientation Flight of the Wasp Vespula vulgaris

T. S. Collett, M. Lehrer


A spatial pattern has been found in the orientation flight that the wasp, Vespula vulgaris, performs on its first departure from a newly discovered feeder. The flight consists of arcs roughly centred on the feeder. Towards the end of each arc, the wasp turns to face the feeder. These inspection points are precisely arranged along lines extending out from the feeder. Hymenoptera are known to store information about their surroundings during orientation flights. We suggest that the information is memorized during these aligned inspections and that the alignment assists acquisition.

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