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The big bad wolf was right; among wasps, bigger eyes evolved the better to see social cues

The photo at left shows a paper wasp queen standing on a nest in its early stages. According to a new study, some wasps have developed bigger eyes, and thus better vision, to read the social cues written on the faces of their sister wasps. “The Big Bad Wolf had it right,” said lead author Michael Sheehan, a University of California, Berkeley postdoctoral fellow. “When Little Red Riding Hood said, ‘Goodness, what big eyes you have,’ he replied, ‘The better to see you with.’” For some paper wasps, Sheehan said, “We found convincing evidence that the wasps evolved better vision for the purpose of telling one another apart. This is consistent with the idea that hearing, smelling, seeing or other sensory capabilities in animals, including humans, may have evolved in response to communication signals like we see in the wasp.”

Visit Website | Image credit: Michael Sheehan, UC Berkeley