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Can Wasp Offspring Inherit Personality Traits?

Can Wasp Offspring Inherit Personality Traits? |  Wasp Control Tucson

From a human’s perspective wasps are simple creatures with no personality. In reality, however, wasps do indeed possess distinct personalities, and new research is showing that wasps inherit personality traits from the Queen. It is believed that these personality traits are not learned, but instead they are inherited genetically. This first became somewhat clear to researchers when they noticed that the queen’s followers show many of the same behaviors as the queen itself.

The behavioral similarities between queen wasps and their followers are particularly evident when wasps are under threat from a predator or another outside force. A recent study published in Animal Behavior is showing that a particular wasp population behaves boldly when their queen behaves boldly, and when the queen is more passive, the wasp population follows suit.

Research from that past has already demonstrated that some insects possess a unique personality, such as stubbornness and aggression. But wasps are different from many other insects in that the behavioral similarities between wasps and their queens are only noticeable when the wasps are under threat.

In order to determine which behavioral similarities exist between queen wasps and her underlings, researchers poked at wasp hives that were headed by stubborn queens, and other hives that were led by more aggressive queens. The researches discovered that more stubborn queens tend to remain in their hives even when researchers were poking them, and all of the queen followers did the same. However, when researchers pestered more aggressive wasps, the queen attacked as well as her underlings. Now that a link has been established between the behaviors of queen wasps and her underlings, researchers are hoping to show that these behaviors are genetically inherited. So the next time you stumble upon a wasp’s nest, just hope the wasps are stubborn, and not aggressive.

Have you ever poked at a wasp’s nest? If yes, how did the wasps respond to your shenanigans?