Quincy University’s professor of biology, Joseph R. Coelho, Ph.D., in collaboration with Charles W. Holliday, Ph.D., of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania and Jon M. Hastings, Ph.D., of Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky, recently published an article entitled “Intra-and Interspecific Prey Theft in Cicada Killers.” The study examines prey theft in two cicada killer wasp aggregations: the Pacific cicada killer wasp in Ruby, Arizona and the Eastern cicada killer wasp in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Using sand-filled trap nests baited with a cicada, the researchers tested the hypothesis that conspecific females might kleptoparasitize by laying an egg on the cicada and closing the nest cell. Kleptoparasitism is a term to describe the act of taking another creature’s prey. Similarly, the researchers have christened the behavior of wasps appropriating cicadas from their fellow wasps as “provisioned nest cell kleptoparasitism.” The study suggests that provisioned nest cell kleptoparasitism may have evolved in cicada killers as an alternative strategy to standard provisioning, given the dual uncertainties of adult body size and prey availability.

The paper was published in The Journal of Insect Science, Volume 19, Issue 1. The fully open access journal publishes papers in all aspects of the biology of insects and other arthropods from the molecular to the ecological and their agricultural and medical impact.

To read the paper visit https://academic.oup.com/jinsectscience/article/19/1/13/5305722.

Dr. Joseph R. Coelho obtained a B.S. in Biology from the University of California at Riverside and a Ph.D. in Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado. He came to Quincy University in 2004. His research primarily focuses on the physiological ecology of insects, especially solitary wasps, and also includes studies in cultural entomology, such as insects in music. He teaches all of the field courses, including Ecology, Environmental Science, Entomology, Plant Field Biology and Vertebrate Field Biology.

Founded in 1860 by Franciscan friars, Quincy University (www.quincy.edu) is a Catholic, co-educational, residential university offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult education programs that integrate liberal arts, active learning, practical experience, and Franciscan values. Quincy University’s intercollegiate sports are members of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference for men and women. For more information, please contact the Quincy University Office of Community Relations by calling (217) 228-5275.