Common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) stinging human.

Common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) stinging human.

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: The common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) in the act of stinging. The sting, the small spine which can be seen at the tip of the abdomen, has evolved from the ovipositor apparatus. It no longer serves for egg-laying; it is used as a weapon of defence or as an injection cannula for the paralysis of prey. In the stinging Hymenoptera the eggs are ejected from an opening at the base of the ovipositor. The poison injected during stinging contains, amongst other things, serotonin, acetylcholine and histamine. These produce considerable pain. A sting in the throat may be dangerous if swelling occurs, and hypersensitive people react to the poison by going into shock.

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Keywords: animal, common wasp, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, nature, of wasp, sting, stinging, vespula vulgaris, wasp, wildlife, zoology

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