Home > Papers from 2011 > Wasp face learning

Wasp face learning

For insects, we tend to think of visual learning in the context of flower learning or navigation. However, some social insects that live in well lit nests have the opportunity to augment their social skills with visually mediated face recognition of conspecifics. Sheehan and Tibbetts have investigated the face recognition skills of one such species Polistes fuscatus. They conclude that P. fuscatus are not general visual specialists but their superior visual learning, relative to a closely related species P. Metricus, is specific to face recognition. This suggests an independent evolution of a specialised module for recognition of conspecifics.

Sheehan, M. J. & Tibbetts, E. A. Science 334, 1272–1275 (2011).

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