Behavior Clip Index
Interpretation of behavior can lead to a greater understanding of the species and its sociality. Behavioral analysis, however, is often tedious and frustrating. Upon initial observation, patterns of behavior and reasons for certain behaviors may be indiscernible. Even when hypothesizes are made concerning the behavior, collecting enough data to make a valid conclusion can be extremely time consuming.
Polistes bellicosus, however, compared to other species, is fairly easy to observe. Behavior can be easily broken down into categories and interpreted. The open nest facilitates observation, and individuals can be easily marked. Furthermore, with the latest video technology, hours of videotape of colonies can be collected for later analysis.
Look at the short behavior clips. For each clip, try to determine the reason for the behavior as well as the social importance of the behavior.
The clips of behavior display only a fraction of the various behaviors associated with Polistine wasps. The videotapes of the three colonies associated with this project give further insight into wasp behavior. The tapes consist of two hours of videotape of each nest prior to queen removal and two hours of video tape after queen removal. On each of the nests, wasps were marked with paint to allow individuals to be distinguished.
Hints for Video Watching and Data Recording:
- Select a tape and watch a good portion of it. Make a list of types of behavior, assigning a short code to each behavior. This should make recording the behavior or interaction more efficient.
- If you are working in a group, make sure that each member of your group interprets each of the behaviors similarly.
- Before making any concrete observations or beginning to record behavior, quickly fast forward through the tape while watching it. This should give you a general idea of where the wasps will be located on the nest, which parts of the tape record the most active periods, and what behaviors are prevalent.
- Once you have a general idea of the number of behaviors on each tape, decide how much of the tape you need to watch. You need to try to have enough observations that your results are accurate, but you may not necessarily need to watch all of the video provided. This will depend greatly on the questions that you are trying to answer.
- Make sure that you can easily identify each of the wasps before recording any observations. Again, this will make the actual recording time more efficient.
- Construct a consistent method for recording observations. For each behavior, you should record the time that the behavior occurred, how long the behavior lasted, the actor, and, if appropriate to the given behavior, the recipient.
- When you see a behavior that you wish to record, watch the behavior for a least a couple of seconds before writing anything down. Try to determine which wasps are participating and what the specific behaviors are. Then, record down the above mentioned information.
- Make sure that you can easily stop, rewind, and pause the VCR that you are using. For each behavior that you record, you will likely have to watch the tape several times. It is frustrating, but there really is no other way.
© Joan E. Strassmann, reproduction by permission only
updated 4 April 1996, firstname.lastname@example.org