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Observations on the Ethology of Digger Wasps of the Genus Steniolia (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae: Bembicini)

Howard E. Evans and James E. Gillaspy
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 72, No. 2 (Oct., 1964), pp. 257-280
DOI: 10.2307/2423504
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2423504
Page Count: 24
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Observations on the Ethology of Digger Wasps of the Genus Steniolia (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae: Bembicini)
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Abstract

Steniolia is a western North American genus characterized most conspicuously by its unusually long proboscis. A review of the available data on visits to flowers suggests that these wasps are strongly attracted to Compositae and that the mouthparts are specially adapted for probing the deep corollas of these and certain other flowers. Members of this genus also exhibit the unusual behavior of forming large, compact sleeping clusters on vegetation. Clustering is apparently influenced strongly by temperature, but the major function of the clusters may be social, as mating is known to occur at the clusters. The nests of these wasps are remarkably shallow, typically unicellular, and are usually constructed at some distance from the clustering sites. Provisioning of the nests is progressive, the prey consisting mainly of bee-flies (Bombyliidae) The contents of the nests are known to be attacked by a number of parasites. Most of the available data concern one species, S. obliqua (Cresson), but less complete data on six other species suggest that there may be no major behavioral divergences within the genus.

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