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Nestmate recognition in a neotropical polygynous wasp
- Kudô, K., Tsuchida, K., Mateus, S., Zucchi, R.
- Insectes sociaux 2007 v.54 no.1 pp. 29-33
- Polybia, field experimentation, nestmate recognition, polygyny, social insects, tropics
- In social insects, nestmate recognition systems can be dynamic and modulated in response to various kinds of genetic and environmental cues. For example, multiple-queen colonies can possess weak recognition abilities relative to single-queen colonies, due to broader exposure to heritable and environmentally derived nestmate recognition cues.We conducted field experiments to examine nestmate recognition ability in a neotropical polygynous wasp, Polybia paulista. Despite the fact that the effective queen number in P. paulista is the highest ever recorded in polygynous wasps, this species exhibits a well functioning nestmate recognition system, which allows colony entry only to nestmate individuals. Similar to other social Hymenoptera, young wasps express colony specific chemical signatures within several days after emergence. This is the first study to show that the polygynous epiponine wasp is able to distinguish nestmates from non-nestmates.