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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Paper wasps are darker at high elevation

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de Souza, Andre R. [1] ; Mayorquin, Angie Z. [2] ; Sarmiento, Carlos E. [2]
Total Authors: 3
[1] Univ Sao Paulo, Fac Filosofia Ciencias & Letras Ribeirao Preto, Dept Biol, Av Bandeirantes 3900, Sao Paulo 14040901 - Brazil
[2] Univ Nacl Colombia, Inst Ciencias Nat, Cr 30 45 03 Edif 425 303, Bogota - Colombia
Total Affiliations: 2
Document type: Journal article
Source: Journal of Thermal Biology; v. 89, APR 2020.
Web of Science Citations: 0

High mountains are harsh environments in which colder temperatures and higher levels of UV-B radiation are common. These abiotic conditions strongly affect animals' biology, often constraining their survival and reproduction. As a result, adaptations to live in such habitats are expected to evolve. Body color is thought to be adaptive to the environment that animals experience. Tegument melanization improves heat gain and provides photoprotection. Therefore, at high elevation, ectotherms are expected to be darker (well-melanized). We test this prediction in the paper wasp Agelaia pallipes (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), a species distributed across an elevational gradient in the Colombian Andes. We used Malaise traps and sampled a total of 146 wasps along nine elevations, ranging from 2,600-3,380 m above sea level. Standard digital photography was used to measure the body luminance and colour patterning in different body parts of dry-preserved specimens. There was striking variation in body luminance (darker and lighter), color patterning (patched, smoothed, homogeneous) and surface texture (shiny and matte), but the kind and degree of variation depended on the body part examined. Wasps from higher elevations had darker thoraces, confirming our prediction. Besides, at high elevation, the frequency of wasps with a matte rather than a shiny face strongly increased. Overall, our findings support the thermal melanism hypothesis and suggest that intraspecific color variation might be an adaptation to the environment of paper wasps. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 15/05302-0 - The choice of sexual partner in eusocial wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Polistinae)
Grantee:André Rodrigues de Souza
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate