On the Instincts and Habits of the Solitary Wasps, 2. number

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"This book examines the activities of wasps. For the purposes of this work wasps may be divided into two classes, the social and the solitary. Of these, those of the latter class are much the more numerous, there being over one thousand species in the United States alone, while there are only about fifty species of the social genera. That the social kinds are better known is due to the fact that the great size to which their communities often attain makes it comparatively easy to study them. The solitary wasp (with rare exceptions) comes into the world absolutely alone. It has no knowledge of its progenitors, which have perished long before, and no relations with others of its kind. It must then depend entirely upon its inherited instincts to determine the form of its activities, and although these instincts are much more flexible than has been generally supposed, and are often modified by individual judgment and experience, they are still so complex and remarkable as to offer a wide field for study and speculation." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).

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Page 22 - ... completed work. In filling up her nest she put her head down into it and bit away the loose earth from the sides, letting it fall to the bottom of the burrow, and then, after a quantity had accumulated, jammed it down with her head. Earth was then brought from the outside and pressed in, and then more was bitten from the sides. When, at last, the filling was level with the ground, she brought a quantity of fine grains of dirt to the spot, and, picking up a small pebble in her mandibles, used...
Page 219 - instinct,'" they say, "we place all complex acts which are performed previous to experience and in a similar manner by all members of the same sex and race, leaving out as non-essential, at this time, the question of whether they are or are not accompanied by consciousness.
Page 88 - The wasp stroked the young hoppers, and sipped up the honey when it was exuded, just like the ants. When an ant came up to a cluster of leaf-hoppers attended by a wasp, the latter would not attempt to grapple with its rival on the leaf, but would fly off and hover over the ant ; then when its little foe was well exposed, it would dart at it and strike it to the ground. The action was so quick that I could not determine whether it struck with its fore-feet or its jaws, but I think it was with the...
Page 24 - When she had heaped up the dirt to her satisfaction, she again flew away and immediately returned with a smaller pebble, perhaps an eighth of an inch in diameter, and then standing more nearly erect, with the front feet folded beneath her, she pressed down the dust all over and about the opening, smoothing off the surface, and accompanying the action with a peculiar rasping sound. After all this was done, and she spent several minutes each time in thus stamping the earth so that only a keen eye could...
Page 203 - Ammophila refused to make use of her burrow after we had drawn some deep lines in the dust before it. The same annoyance is exhibited when there is any change made near the spot upon which the prey of the wasp, whatever it may be, is deposited temporarily.
Page 4 - Bembex, a number of individuals build close together, forming a colony. The nests may be made of mud, and attached for shelter under leaves, rocks, or eaves of buildings, or may be burrows hollowed out in the ground, in trees or in the stems of plants. The adult wasp lives upon fruit or nectar, but the young grub or larva must have animal food ; and here the parent wasp shows a rigid conservatism, each species providing the sort of food that has been approved by its family for generations, one taking...
Page 147 - ... occurred to us — that it was decidedly too small to hold the spider. Back she went for another survey of her bulky victim, measured it with her eye, without touching it, drew her conclusions, and at once returned to the nest and began to make it larger. We have several times seen wasps enlarge thein holes when a trial had demonstrated that the spider would not go in, but this seemed a remarkably intelligent use of the comparative faculty.
Page 22 - ... others. We remember her as the most fastidious and perfect little worker of the whole season, so nice was she in her adaptation of means to ends, so busy and contented in her labor of love, and so pretty in her pride over her completed work.
Page 11 - The caterpillar was now left lying on the ground. For a moment the wasp circled above it, and then, descending, seized it again, further back this time, and with great deliberation and nicety of action gave it four more stings, beginning between the ninth and tenth segments and progressing backward.
Page 210 - To judge from the results, they scarcely sting twice alike, since the victims of the same wasp may be killed at once or may live from one day to six weeks, or perhaps ultimately recover.