Homing in the Digger Wasp Bembix rostrata (Hymenoptera, Sphecidae) in Relation to Sex and Stage1


  • 1

    Dedicated to the memory of Niko Tinbergen.

Max-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie, D-8132 Seewiesen, Post Starnberg.


In the digger wasp Bembix rostrata in males and females of different stages the homing rates and times after release from different distances were investigated.

  • 1The homing rate decreased with increase of distance (up to 3000 m).
  • 2In females the homing rate increased with progressing stage, from emerging over digging to provisioning.
  • 3Numbers for homing times followed the same order: highest in emerging, medium in digging and lowest in provisioning females.
  • 4Males showed similar homing rates as digging females. No significant differences between age groups could be found.
  • 5The results indicate an effect of sex and stage on the homing capacity. Differences may be traced back to motivation (provisioning females) and lack of experience (emerging females). Landmark orientation, which may include particular search strategies, is a probable orientation mechanism.