Notes on Niche Separation in the Neotropical Social Wasps Polistes lanio and Polistes versicolor (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

Jehangir Kadir, Ria Lewis, Christopher K. Starr

Abstract


Nesting and colony productivity of the social wasps Polistes lanio and P. versicolor are compared at three sites in northern Trinidad, West Indies. Only P. versicolor was found nesting at the most vegetated site, while only P. lanio was at the least vegetated site. The two species were both abundant at an intermediate site. Where the species co-occur, there is no evident difference in their use of available nest sites. Furthermore, where they co-occur there is no significant difference in colony productivity. However, each species is more productive at the opener, less heavily vegetated site where it is found. As a result, P. lanio is significantly more productive, overall, than P. versicolor. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that P. lanio excludes P. versicolor by competition from more productive sites. The basis of this supposed competition remains unknown.


Keywords


Polistes; niche; social wasp.

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