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Queen signal should be honest to be involved in maintenance of eusociality: chemical correlates of fertility in Ropalidia marginata

Mitra, A and Gadagkar, R (2012) Queen signal should be honest to be involved in maintenance of eusociality: chemical correlates of fertility in Ropalidia marginata. In: Insectes Sociaux, 59 (2). pp. 251-255.

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Official URL: http://www.springerlink.com/content/u7448402515617...

Abstract

Queens of many social insect species are known to maintain reproductive monopoly by pheromonal signalling of fecundity. Queens of the primitively eusocial wasp Ropalidia marginata appear to do so using secretions from their Dufour's glands, whose hydrocarbon composition is correlated with fertility. Solitary nest foundresses of R. marginata are without nestmates; hence expressing a queen signal can be redundant, since there is no one to receive the signal. But if queen pheromone is an honest signal inextricably linked with fertility, it should correlate with fertility and be expressed irrespective of the presence or absence of receivers of the signal, by virtue of being a byproduct of the state of fertility. Hence we compared the Dufour's gland hydrocarbons and ovaries of solitary foundresses with queens and workers of post-emergence nests. Our results suggest that queen pheromone composition in R. marginata is a byproduct of fertility and hence can honestly signal fertility. This provides important new evidence for the honest signalling hypothesis.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article is belongs to Springer.
Keywords: Honest signal;Queen pheromone;Dufour's gland; Ovaries; Solitary foundress;Ropalidia marginata
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2012 10:42
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2012 10:51
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/44441

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