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Ropalidia rufoplagiata: a polistine wasp society probably lacking permanent reproductive division of labour

Sinha, A and Premnath, S and Chandrashekara, K and Gadagkar, R (1993) Ropalidia rufoplagiata: a polistine wasp society probably lacking permanent reproductive division of labour. In: Insectes Sociaux, 40 (1). pp. 69-86.

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Abstract

Ropalidia rufoplagiata Cameron (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), a polistine species from penisular India, appears to be unique among all known primitively eusocial wasps. A total of 33 out of 46 identified females from an observed colony were found to oviposit on 1-17 occasions. No single predominant egg-layer could be identified during the 45-day period. Of the 17 dissected egg-layers, 12 were mated. All egg-layers showed several oviposition-related behavioural patterns including systematic, but indiscriminate, cannibalism of eggs and larvae, cleaning of empty cells, and guarding of freshly-laid eggs. There was no correlation between the egg-laying activity of the females (whether mated or not), oophagy, and their position in the dominance hierarchy. All nest-maintenance activities were performed exclusively by the egg-layers, while the non-egg-layers were mainly involved in the extranidal task offoraging. No significant morphometric differences between egg-layers and foragers could be discerned. Almost all the older individuals in the colony were egg-layers, while foragers were mainly younger animals. Such a temporal differentiation in reproductive labour suggests the absence of a permanent reproductive caste in this species.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Birkhäuser Basel.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2007
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:34
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/9441

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