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Evolution of Insect Societies: Some Insights from Studying Tropical Wasps

Gadagkar, Raghavendra (1990) Evolution of Insect Societies: Some Insights from Studying Tropical Wasps. In: Social Insects: An Indian Perspective, Bangalore,India, pp. 129-152.


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With the exception of one species of a sphecid wasp all social wasps belong to the family Vespidae. This family is traditionally divided into three sub-families namely, the Stenogastrinae, the Polistinae and the Vespinae (Richards, 1962; 1978a,b). It is our good fortune that India is blessed with representatives of each of the three sub-families and also each of the three tribes of Polistinae (Gupta and Das, 1977). But it is also a great misfortune that, barring a few scattered reports (Davis, 1966a,b; Gadgil and Mahabal, 1974; Gadagkar, 1980 ; Belavadi and Govindan, 1981), there is virtually no information on the Indian fauna of social wasps. Although the Indian groups are in dire need of taxonomic revision, it must be acknowledged that the excellent, if somewhat outdated, works of the Dutch taxonomist, J. Van der Vecht (1941, 1957, 1962. 1966) have rescued those intent on studying the biology of Indian social wasps from despair. Das (1982) has recently attempted a heroic revision of the entire family but taxonomic works are of little value as long as they remain as unpubiished Ph.D. theses.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Centre for Theoretical Studies (Ceased to exist at the end of 2003)
Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2007
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:33
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/9145

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