, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 257-264

Alternative mating tactics in males of Polistes dominulus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

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In summer, males of Polistes dominulus form large aggregations at sunny landmarks. We identified two size-correlated behavioural categories: residents (R) and transient (T). R males, which constitute 20%–25% of the total population, are larger than T males, territorial, aggressive, and more site-faithful, while T males range more widely, are non-aggressive, and show little site tenacity. Field and laboratory data suggest that R males have an advantage in mating, particularly if they engage in frequent flights while on their territories. These alternative mating tactics within the same population are combined with behavioural flexibility in some individuals, which switch from one option to the other.