1. Brownian says

    It seems wasps can recognize wasp faces.

    More than that, they react violently when others attempt to rise above their perceived station, as judged by their colouring alone.

    What’s even weirder: the insects that share their name do the same thing.

  2. EvoMonkey says

    Herb, is that you in the upper right corner! Why are you looking at me with your jaws flared out like that?


  3. Richard Smith says

    I always thought the Brady Bunch was a very WASP-ish family, but I never realized just to what extent…

  4. ChasCPeterson says

    Metazoan wasps? Shit just changes too fast for me to keep up with anymore.

    Are youy joking? (if so I don’t get it.)
    Metazoan = animal
    wasps definitely count.

  5. matthewhowery says

    PZ, I’m not sure where this puts me in your legions of fans, but I just wanted to share that my favorite aspect of your blogs is not the aggressive atheism (which I love), nor the blatant disdain for lack of critical thinking and education (which I love), or the almost fanatical devotion to the pop -er, I mean, science (which I love).

    No. As a student of philosophy, I can state categorically that the best aspect of your blog is the constant Monty Python references. :)


    P.S. Can I join your group? -I really hate the Romans!

  6. evodevo says

    I’ve been dealing personally with Polistes for 30 years in and around my house, barn, outbuildings, cars, equipment, etc.etc. They were not very aggressive in the first place, and I think I have exerted selection pressure on them to boot. Most of them just sit on the nest and look at me now, without attacking. You have to really knock them around before they respond. I don’t know if they can recognize MY face, but they can see pretty well ! I have no doubt they can recognize each other’s faces.

  7. rob says

    Unrelated question. Is Panda’s Thumb down?

    I have not been able to connecting in 12 hours from work or home.

  8. Aquaria says

    :::bursts into tears and runs screaming from the room::::

    I was attacked by a colony of wasps when I was four. My grandparents thought I was overreacting when I started screaming and gasping for air after they thought they’d calmed me down. I think they got the hint when I passed out from not being able to breathe.

    I understand my 68-year-old grandfather had me in the car and in the emergency room 7 miles away in three minutes flat after I dropped. Thankfully, all but .3 miles of it was on a state highway with a 70 mph speed limit. Not that anyone would have stopped him. Every cop in that area knew that if he was driving more than 35, it was important.

  9. autumn says

    Never have I been happier to have seen the Electric Company episode that explained how exoskeletons put a limit on the size of insects.

  10. Outrage Zombie says

    Don’t feel too bad, PZ. If it weren’t for the huge difference in size, I’m sure we’d all recognize individual wasps just fine right before we ran for our lives.

  11. radpumpkin says

    Claiming all wasps look alike may be speciesist, but there is still the matter of the only rational thing that can be said when confronted with that many bloody wasps at once:
    KILL THEM WITH FIRE!!!1!111!!!!1!111!!!11111!!!

  12. Richard Smith says

    @mikelaing (#23):

    The middle one on the left is kind of cute!

    That would be Jan, right?

  13. NelC says

    A random thought just occurred to me: how do insects focus their vision? Do they focus or is the focus of the elements of their compound eyes fixed?

  14. mikelaing says

    #Richard Smith(24) says:

    That would be Jan, right?

    Sigh…. She doesn’t even know I’m alive.

    Actually, I’m not sure she still is, either. I’ll have to give her a buzz.

  15. orchidgrowinman says


    See my comment on the Other Pharyngula; these Polistes make great pets! (I describe how I “tame” them.)

    The European P. dominulus is a mutualist with humans: I have seen hoop-houses for growing tomatoes, peppers and the like (for extending the season) with dozens of colonies cheek-by-jowl as it were, and the farmers paid them no mind. I’ll bet caterpillars were no problem there!

    Because of that relationship, these are surprizingly docile to people(or is it the other way ’round?): I would not be surprized that they at least recognize humans vs. other megafauna. Mine certainly recognized HANDS.