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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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|
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