Mattia Menchetti, a biology student, conducted an experiment on a colony of European paper wasps, which produced some very colorful results. The water-resistant nests of paper wasps are made of fibers from dead wood and plant stems that have been chewed into a pulp and mixed with saliva. Menchetti gave colored paper to a captive colony of these wasps, and the insects created a vibrant rainbow nest in a stunning display of entomological art.
Menchetti began by handing the wasps small pieces of yellow paper, gradually increasing the number of multicolored sheets. The colony gladly accepted the material and used it to build a sturdy, technicolor home for their larvae. Paper wasps are among the most common wasp species, commonly found in North American backyards. Because they tend to build a single nest over several seasons and generations, their homes must be extremely durable. Scientists have used a protein found in the saliva of these wasps to build a biodegradable drone because it is so effective at waterproofing their nests.
Menchetti has conducted a number of scientific studies on insects, mammals, and alien species ecology, which he describes in greater detail on his website.
Mattia Menchetti: Website | Twitter
via [Mental Floss, Colossal, Lustik]
Amazing. Enjoyed watching this. Please could you email the paper.
An entomologist too, I like silkworm.