You can't fool a wasp with a false show of bravado

Written by: Samyuktha
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London, Aug 21 (ANI): Wasps hate cheating rivals - rivals that either 'look' strong but can't fight or the ones that really are tough but don't look the part.

According to New Scientist, Elizabeth Tibbetts of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and colleagues used paint to make weaker wasps look more fearsome, and then pitted them against a rival they had never met before.

Wasps that have more fragmented patterns are considered tougher.

The rivals gave the cheaters more of a pounding than they gave undisguised wasps, with more incidents of intense aggression, such as biting and mounting.

In a contrasting experiment, the team used hormones to artificially enhance the fighting prowess of weak wasps, making them stronger than their faces indicated. Here too, despite their boosted powers, their rivals refused to submit to them.

The results show that wasps with any kind of mismatch between facial pattern and behaviour get punished by their peers, says Tibbetts, which explains why they haven't evolved a strategy of lying and cheating to get to the top.

The study is published in the journal Current Biology. (ANI)

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