Wasps of Costa Rica

This topic submitted by Tim Carey ( careytj@miamioh.edu) at 9:18 PM on 4/17/06.

Melissa works on her journal at the Mangrove Inn, Bocas, Panama!

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Symbiotic relationships are incredibly necessary neotropical ecosystems where many different species are spread out over large areas. Because of the multitude of species that can be found in a small area (compared to more temperate areas) it is evident that these species must have learned to coexist. The wasps of CR serve as good examples of these symbiotic organisms. Also, the wasp, at least for most people, has been stigmatized as a vicious, stinging pest. I hope to dispel this notion by opening eyes to the complex and interesting lifecycle biology of this group of insects.


I. Intro to the Hymenoptera of Costa Rica and Central America
- What is included in hymenoptera?
- Narrowing of focus onto wasps
- Specific was species in CR (Sphecidae, Ichneumonidae) Social vs.
- Touch on the importance of cataloging the biodiversity, especially in
II. Wasps 1
- Focus on Sphecidae and Chalcid wasps
- Background info
- Biology and lifecycle of
- Symbiotic relationships they have with the surrounding ecosystems (fig
III. Wasps 2
- Focus on Ichneumonidae
- Background info
- Biology and lifecycle of
- Symbiotic relationships
IV. Biochemistry of Wasps and other Hymenoptera of CR
- uses in communication
- uses in defenses
- possible exploitation by humans for medicinal purposes
- prevention of human attacks?
V. Conclusion
- future of CR wasps
- future of efforts to record and document the biodiversity of the tropics
- use of the wasp as a model organism to represent many of the other symbiotic relationships that are vital to the lifecycle of many tropical species


Studying insect diversity in the tropics
HCJ Godfrey, GT Lewis, J Memmot

Solitary Wasps: Behavior and Natural History
KM OĠNeill
Cornell University 2001

Social Wasps
R Edwards
Rentokil Ltd 1980

Biochemistry of Insects
M Rockstein
Academic Press 1978

The Size and Comparison of Hymenoptera Fauna of Costa Rica
Journal of Biogeography (JSTOR)

Hunting Social Wasp Interactions
Ecology (JSTOR)

Birds as predators on the Brood of Polybrachae Wasps
Ecology (JSTOR)

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  • Tropical Ecosystems of Costa Rica
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