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Abstract

This is part of continuing study of the comparative nesting behavior of solitary wasps (Hymenoptera Aculeata), with particular references to the genus Philanthus (Sphecidae). This year most attention was decovted to P. zebratus, a relatively large and showy member of the genus that nests in several places in Jackson Hole. The major study area was below the Snake River Overlook, 9.5 miles south of Moran Junction. About 100 nests were present here between July 10 and August 5, all in an area about 5 x 15 meters in sandy soil near the Snake River. Forty nests were marked and followed until completion. In no case did the females involved make a second nest; they continued to make cells on the original nests until their death. The maximum number of cells found was 14, provisioned each with 4-9 paralyzed bees or wasps (including other species of Philanthus). Observations were also made on male behavior. Males are not territorial, as previously assumed, but rest at various places around the colony, showing little tendency to return to the same perch again. Males also have a "high flight", not previously described, in which they rise slowly in the air to a height of 3-5 meters and then descend obliquely to the ground after 10-60 seconds. Project Number 115.

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