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Hard working nurses rather than over-aged nurses permit Ropalidia marginata to respond to the loss of young individuals

Agrahari, M and Gadagkar, R (2004) Hard working nurses rather than over-aged nurses permit Ropalidia marginata to respond to the loss of young individuals. In: Insectes Sociaux, 51 (3). pp. 306-307.

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Abstract

The primitively eusocial wasp Ropalidia marginata exhibits a remarkably well-developed honey bee like age polyethism. Individuals perform different tasks sequentially as they age, starting with intranidal tasks (nursing and building in that order) and ending with extranidal tasks (foraging for pulp and food in that order). As in the case of honey bees such age polyethism is rather flexible; in the absence of old individuals (in young-cohort colonies), precocious foragers forage at abnormally young ages. Here we demonstrate that the absence of young individuals (in old-cohort colonies) does not result in over-aged nurses nursing at abnormally old ages, as seen in the case of honey bees. Instead it results in hard working nurses who nurse at abnormally high rates. The possible reasons for the absence of over-aged nurses and the presence of hard working nurses are discussed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Age polyethism;Eusociality;Social wasps;Ropalidia marginata;Division of labor
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2006
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:31
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/8671

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