- Abstract 1. 1. The cuticle of social wasps is luminescent in various shades of blue, green and yellow. 2. 2. On examination of this luminescence phenomenon, carried out by laser pulse probing, it was found that in the yellow-coloured cuticular areas there are at least two types of pigment which differ, by a 10-fold factor, in the luminescence lifetime, but only slightly in their emission wavelength. 3. 3. The duration of the luminescence in the brown region of the cuticle is less than one tenth that of the shortest yellow transient, while its luminescence intensity is two orders that of the yellow pigments. 4. 4. The possible communicative values of this effect in the daily activity of these social insects is discussed.