Male wasps use their genital spines to sting frogs (and people)

Male wasps use their genital spines to sting frogs (and people)

The painful pricks were a problem until recently for female wasps.


Laura Baisas

Published Dec 19, 2022 11:00 AM

A yellow-and-black wasp lands on green leaves.

It turns out that not only female wasps sting. Deposit Photos

Sometimes science bites, sometimes even stings. ResearcherMisaki TsujiiThis was discovered by Kobe University in Japan, while studying the life of the deceased.mason waspAnterhynchium gibbifrons)When she was stung. Although stings are part and parcel of studying bees, there was something more.

“Surprisingly the male sting caused a pricking sensation,”Shinji Sugiura, Tsujii’s research partner, said this:Also from Kobe University. It is usually the females who sting predators with wasps. “Based on her observations and experience, I hypothesized the male genitalia ofA. gibbifrons“Act as an anti-predator defense.”Sugiura stated.

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It is well-known that female bees, and wasps, use modified honey.OvipositorsThis body part is also used in egg-laying and can be used to sting their attackers, which includes humans. These venomous bee stings are used to defend their colonies and themselves. However, scientists believe that the male bees are less dangerous than the ovipositors since they have developed venomous bites. A study was published in the journal Science Monday.Current BiologyDetails how male mason wasps use sharp genital spines against predatory tree frogs to avoid getting swallowed.

Sugiura stated that while conspecific interactions between male and female animals are often studied, the genitalia of male mammals have rarely been studied in terms prey-predator interactions.In a statute.“This study highlights male genitalia’s importance as an anti-predator defense. It also opens up a new perspective on understanding the ecological function of male genitalia in animals.”

They placed male wasps alongside tree frogs to learn more.Dryophytes japonica). The male wasps were attacked by all the frogs. Just over a third of them ate the wasps.

[Related:[Related: When they are trying to steal honey, bees resort to violence.]

“Even though all the pond frogs ate male wasps 35.3 percent of tree frogs eventually rejected them.”They write in the study. “Male wasps were often observed to puncture the mouth or other parts frogs with genitalia, while being attacked.”

Male wasps use the genital spines of their genitals to sting frogs and people
After being hit with pseudo-stings, a tree frog spitting out male wasps. CREDIT: Current Biology, Sugiura.

The tree frogs were then given to wasps without their genitalia. They quickly ate the wasps. The experiment showed that all the genital-less male wasps were eaten by frogs. This suggests that the male wasps used the genitalia to sting the frogs to stop them from swallowing them.

According to the paper, this is evidence that males use their genitalia, just like their female counterparts. This allows them to avoid being eaten by their predators. These genital spines are called “pseudostings” and can be found in several other wasp families (includingTiphiidaeAndSphecidaeThe team believes that this new defensive role can be found in many other wasp species, in addition to the mason.

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