Media Coverage: Ant-dropping wasps causing a buzz

Previously unheard-of wasp behaviour documented by Victoria University scientists has gained major media coverage both in New Zealand and overseas.

Dr Julien Grangier and Assoc. Professor Philip Lester, from the Victoria University School of Biological Sciences, noted some unusual behaviour displayed by invasive wasps (Vespula vulgaris) competing for food with native New Zealand ants (Prolasius advenus). Rather directly attacking the the acid spraying ants, the wasps opted to pick them up, fly back wards and drop the ants away from the food. This type of interaction have never been documented in wasps before.

The research, published in Biology Letters, has gained both national and international interest.

Some New Zealand articles covering the story include:

NZ Herald: Wasps give hungry ants the heave-ho

Dominion Post: Wasps give ants the buzz-off in battle of bugs

TV 3 News: Wasps airlift confused ants away from food

Overseas coverage:

Daily Mail (UK):  Buzz off, this is OUR dinner: Angry wasps airlift ants away from their food

Wired (UK):  New Zealand wasps airlift ants away from food

ABC News (Australia): Wasps drop ants to take their food

ScienceNOW (US): Watch Out Below: Wasps Battle Ants by Dropping Them

Wasps drop ants to take their food