Solitary Wasps: Behavior and Natural History

Front Cover
Cornell University Press, 2001 - Science - 406 pages

While social wasps, like hornets and yellow jackets, garner most of the publicity (most of it negative), the vast majority of wasp species, including digger wasps, spider wasps, and mud-daubers, are solitary. Elegant in appearance and distinctive in their actions, solitary wasps have long fascinated observers and have been the subject of narratives by such naturalists and scientists as Jean Henri Fabre, Niko Tinbergen, and Howard Ensign Evans.

Each adult female solitary wasp forages alone and, if she builds a nest, it is occupied solely by herself and her own offspring. Females use their stings mainly for hunting, rather than for defense, and exhibit a wide range of foraging and parental behaviors. Solitary wasps are of special interest to ethologists and evolutionary biologists.

Kevin M. O'Neill provides readable yet thorough accounts of the natural history of the major families of solitary wasps and also surveys the current state of scientific research on these insects. Numerous comprehensive tables of quantitative data serve as an excellent reference for biologists.

Topics covered in Solitary Wasps: Behavior and Natural History include:
*classification of the solitary wasps and their relation to other Hymenoptera
*foraging and nesting behaviors
* mating and parental strategies
*natural enemies
*defensive strategies
*directions for future research

Solitary Wasps: Behavior and Natural History is the first general survey in more than 25 years to be dedicated to its subject and is the best place to turn for information about the biology and compelling behavior of these common insects.

-- "Times Literary Supplement"

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Wasp Diversity and Classification
Foraging Behavior of Parasitoids II
Foraging Behavior of NestProvisioning Predators
Foraging Behavior of Cleptoparasites
Pollen Foraging and Pollination
Nesting Behavior
Natural Enemies and Defensive Strategies
Male Behavior and Sexual Interactions
Thermoregulation Sleeping and Overwintering
Parental Strategies
Appendix A Superfamilies Families and Subfamilies

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 377 - Convergent evolution of morphological specializations in Central European bee and honey wasp species as an adaptation to the uptake of pollen from nototribic flowers (Hymenoptera, Apoidea and Masaridae).
Page 374 - The biology of Anthrax limatulus fur (Osten Sacken), with a key to and descriptions of pupae of some species in the Anthrax albofasciatus and trimaculatus groups (Diptera: Bombyliidae).
Page 373 - LINSLEY, EG, and JW MACSWAIN. 1942. The parasites, predators, and inquiline associates of Anthophora linsleyi.
Page 376 - BRUES (CT) : 1903. Guests and Parasites of the Burrowing Bee Halictus. Biol. Bull. 5, pp.
Page 345 - Borg-Karlson A.-K. (1990) Chemical and ethological studies of pollination in the genus Ophrys (Orchidaceae). Phytochemistry 29, 1359-1387.

About the author (2001)

Kevin M. O'Neill is Associate Professor of Entomology at Montana State University-Bozeman. He is coauthor with Howard Ensign Evans of The Natural History and Behavior of North American Beewolves, also from Cornell.

Bibliographic information