An aggressive type of insect is currently disturbing the natural chain in Australia. The European Wasp, an invasive species similar to the recently discovered Giant Asian Hornet in the United States, swarms decaying corpses and attacks intruders such as blowflies by tackling them to the ground and beheading them.
The insects are also capable of deterring larger animals such as dingoes from taking any bite out of their claimed loot.
According to The Conversation, invasive species of plants and animals can have disastrous effects on natural wildlife which include habitat loss and overexploitation. These foreign visitors are the most significant threats the native Australian species face in their daily lives.
Initially, European Wasps were native to Europ, Northern Africa, and some parts of Asia. Unknowing ships and trucks, however, stowed hibernating queens which resulted in the colonization of other areas and eventually making their way to Australia.
Humans first discovered their existence in Tasmania in 1959, and they have already reached mainland Australia by 1970. In modern times, European Wasps are located all over the world, and people consider them to be agricultural, urban, and environmental pests.
The aggressive species have adequately established themselves in the eastern parts of the country and require constant attention and awareness to keep them from spreading any further.
The leader of the study, PhD student in the Global Ecology Lab, Emma Spencer, said they were observing the wasps and looked at their role as a scavenger in nature.
"When they see a carcass, it becomes a feeding frenzy for a colony," she said. Spencer added that the species would stop at nothing to protect their food from attackers, as reported by 9News.
The study monitored 20 Kangaroo carcasses that the researchers found within the habitats of the Kosciuszko National Park. The European Wasps swarmed in large numbers around every single corpse.
The wasps proceeded to defend their food by attacking blowflies that tried to join in the meal by, sometimes cutting their heads off. The researchers were surprised to see some blowflies missing their heads.
They also added that the beheading was believed to be a defensive behaviour, but it was also possible that the wasps were taking bits and pieces back to their hive to feed their larvae.
The researchers set up camera traps that captured footage of dingoes snapping wildly at wasps that repeatedly stung them, reeling away without having taken a bite of the dead animal.
The team's observations show that the wasps are stopping the role of blowflies and dingoes from "cleaning up" the carcasses by keeping them away.
The invasive species is similar to the recently discovered Giant Asian Hornets in some parts of the United States which have decimated entire populations of honeybees.
According to The New York Times, the Asian Giant Hornet has been seen once again in the Pacific Northwest. Two reports suggest that the species have begun colonizing a much larger area than experts previously thought.
Humans are also susceptible to the dangerous and powerful sting of the hornet. Australia has also noted the impacts the wasps have on humans but says that compared to the US, it is profoundly misguided.
"While both insects have painful stings that can result in severe allergic reactions, fatalities are rare," reassured Spencer. She added that we should focus more on the effects that their arrival has on the ecosystem itself.