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The mechanism of nestmate discrimination in the tropical social wasp Ropalidia marginata and its implications for the evolution of sociality

Venkataraman, AB and Swarnalatha, VB and Nair, P and Gadagkar, R (1988) The mechanism of nestmate discrimination in the tropical social wasp Ropalidia marginata and its implications for the evolution of sociality. In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 23 (5). pp. 271-279.

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Abstract

We have demonstrated that females of the primitively eusocial tropical wasp Ropalidia marginata can discriminate nestmates from nonnestmates outside the context of their nests. This was accomplished by recording all behavioural interactions in a neutral arena and comparing tolerance levels. In order for these wasps to make such a discrimination, however, it was essential that after eclosion both the discriminated and the discriminating animals were exposed to their respective natal nests and nestmates. The results suggest that both recognition labels and templates are acquired by the animals from sources outside their body, perhaps from their nest or nestmates. It is thus unlikely that different genetic lines within a colony can be distinguished. We conclude, therefore, that genetic asymmetries created by haplodiploidy, but often broken down by multiple mating polygyny, are not restored by preferential altruism towards full rather than half sisters by means of kin recognition. Hence we recommend caution in ascribing the multiple origins of eusociality in the Hymenoptera to haplodiploidy.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Springer Berlin/ Heidelberg.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:31
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/8696

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