October 10, 2014 Membership Meeting

Napo Love Call: Sexual Exploits of a Charismatic Ecuadoran Wasp

Murie Audubon members may remember the talk a couple of years ago by Sarah Bucklin, who reported on UW entomologist Scott Shaw’s tropical ecology class at Yanayacu Biological Station in Napo Province near the town of Cosango, Ecuador.   Will Robinson, our featured speaker for October, will present a talk on field research he conducted with Scott Shaw and two of his CC students, Andy Kulikowski and Delina Barbosa, at the Yanayacu Biological Station.

They studied the mating behavior of a newly described species of parasitic wasp under the trying conditions of the equatorial cloud forest. They found some fascinating things in this tiny wasp, including lekking behavior reminiscent of what you see in sage grouse, complete with competition and fighting among males, and mate choice by females. Similar behaviors have rarely been seen in such wasps, and almost never in the field.

It has been quite a departure for Will, switching from the charismatic giant honey bees of Thailand to a minuscule creature no one would never notice in dense forest. But it has been fascinating, in a very different way. Will hopes to try to stress the contrast between charismatic megafauna (the bees) and seemingly ordinary microfauna (the wasps). Both are vital to ecosystem functioning; both provide a lot of entertainment for human observers.

Please join us on Friday, October 10, 2014 at 7 PM at the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Building at 2211 King Blvd. for this fascinating program.  As always, the program is free and open to the public!