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The nests, developmental stages and prey of Anterhynchium gibbifrons. (a) Representative architecture of a nest of A. gibbifrons (cross section; see Fig. 2 for a description of cane orientation). This nest is composed of four brood cells (BC) and four empty cells (EC). All cells are separated by mud walls and the cavity entrance is typically sealed with a double mud plug (DP). (b) An adult female wasp carrying a caterpillar into a bamboo cane. (c) An egg hanging from the ceiling of a brood cell and caterpillars provided by the mother wasp. (d) A middle instar wasp larva feeding on caterpillars in a brood cell. (e) A late-instar wasp larva consuming prey in a brood cell. (f) A wasp prepupa in a brood cell.

The nests, developmental stages and prey of Anterhynchium gibbifrons. (a) Representative architecture of a nest of A. gibbifrons (cross section; see Fig. 2 for a description of cane orientation). This nest is composed of four brood cells (BC) and four empty cells (EC). All cells are separated by mud walls and the cavity entrance is typically sealed with a double mud plug (DP). (b) An adult female wasp carrying a caterpillar into a bamboo cane. (c) An egg hanging from the ceiling of a brood cell and caterpillars provided by the mother wasp. (d) A middle instar wasp larva feeding on caterpillars in a brood cell. (e) A late-instar wasp larva consuming prey in a brood cell. (f) A wasp prepupa in a brood cell.

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... We unfortunately were not able to determine whether A. flavomarginatus hunts for caterpillars of a single or multiple lepidopteran species, although there did not seem to be a shortage of preys during the sampling period based on observations of the nests' contents in the laboratory. However, it is known that previously studied potter wasps typically prey on caterpillars of several species (Itino 1992;Tsujii et al. 2022). Whereas A. flavomarginatus builds its last nests in the flying season around May, the adults that will later emerge during the austral winter most likely will undergo diapause somewhere outside their nests, as reported for other species (Buschini and Buss 2010;Buschini and Bergamaschi 2014). ...
... However, when the mean body masses of both sexes were taken into consideration, it became clear that the investment ratio was, in fact, biased towards females. As with the vast majority of hymenopterans, females of A. flavomarginatus are significantly heavier than their male counterparts (e.g., Harvey and Strand 2003;Arvidson et al. 2018;Ferrari et al. 2022;Tsujii et al. 2022), meaning that the production of the formers requires a higher energy allocation than that of the latters (Fisher 1930). The intersex difference in body mass was so marked that our probabilistic model was able to correctly predict the sex of individuals with an accuracy of 97.6%. ...
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Predators can cause selection that drives the evolution of various anti-predator defenses in prey1,2,3. Some prey species have evolved specific defensive devices, while others simply use body parts that evolved for reasons other than defense to repel predators1. For example, many animal species have strong canine teeth or mandibles to kill prey and to counterattack their enemies1,2,3. Bees and wasps (Insecta: Hymenoptera) use their ovipositors as stings to repel attackers, including humans4. Stinging by injecting venom can cause intense pain and allergic reactions in humans4. Therefore, stinging hymenopterans that are recognized as dangerous have evolved warning signals, such as conspicuous body coloration4. Hymenopteran males, which lack ovipositors, are believed to be harmless, and the males avoid predators by mimicking the females' coloration and behavior4. Here, we report that males of the mason wasp Anterhynchium gibbifrons (Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Eumeninae) use sharp genital spines to counterattack predators. A potential predator, the tree frog Dryophytes japonica (= Hyla japonica) (Anura: Hylidae) or the pond frog Pelophylax nigromaculatus (Anura: Ranidae), was housed with male A. gibbifrons under laboratory conditions. All tree and pond frogs attacked the male wasps. Although all of the pond frogs ate the male wasps, 35.3% of the tree frogs ultimately rejected them. Male wasps were frequently observed to pierce the mouth or other parts of frogs with their genitalia while being attacked. The tree frogs were also housed with male wasps from which the genitalia were removed. All these frogs ate the genitalia-less males. Therefore, male wasps used their genitalia to prevent tree frogs from swallowing them. This study highlights the importance of male genitalia as an anti-predator defense and provides a new perspective for understanding the ecological roles of male genitalia in animals.