Can Wasps Recognize You and Each Other?

Wasps can recognize you and each other! It’s true, and it is one of the most amazing discoveries. Are you a person who never forgets a face? Well, you have got some competition in the animal kingdom – the wasps.

Scientists have discovered that paper wasps can recognize and remember each other faces with sharp accuracy. In general, an individual in any species recognizes its kin by many different names. But the real challenge is to remember anyone by face. Like in humans, it is extremely important. A study suggested that when you look at a face, your brain treats it differently than any other image. It is just how the brain works, and it turns out paper wasp does the same thing with images.

Wasps Face Learning – A Reward

In the study, with the help of an experiment, a T-shaped maze was used to identify the complex social structure related to these species. Each wasp in the maze was shown two images of different wasps in the same species. One to the left and one to the right, the images acted like a signpost that tells the subject which way to get their reward (food). The images were constantly changed to observe closely. One image supposes image A versus image B associated with the safety zone. During this evaluation, the wasps learned that if they go to a certain face, they can receive the reward, and the other face does not do anything for them.

The experiment was repeated using simple images and a few others instead of faces, showing a slow learning process. The result was not promising with images of shapes that concluded that the wasps respond better with images of other wasps, suggesting that they respond better with face recognition.

Wasp Face Recognition Helps Keep the Peace

The unique and distinct faces of wasps and the ability to recognize and remember each other faces are likely united with the insect’s multi colony social structure. Wasps generally have multiple queens for each colony and sometimes for each department. They all need to reproduce, and they all want to become dominant. So being able to recognize each other helps them

remember who has already beat who. And who has a higher ranking in the hierarchy, this helps them keep the peace. When they somehow aren’t able to recognize each other, wasps have shown more aggression.

Other wasps live with a single queen don’t need to tell each other apart. They don’t recognize each other and can’t learn different faces since they all look the same. An example of such a wasp is Metricus wasps.

Wasps Learning Human Faces

There are no such findings that can exactly tell if wasps can recognize human faces. The scientists who experimented hope to find out how human face perception compares with facial recognition in wasps. Mammals and other wasps have different eyes, and their brain has fewer specialized regions.

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