, Volume 4, Issue 5, pp 557-565

A role of the Dufour's gland in the dominance interactions of the paper wasp,Polistes fuscatus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

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The Dufour's gland of the paper wasp, Polistes fuscatus,is a source of the cues used by dominant females to recognize the eggs laid by subordinates or nonnestmates on pre (worker)-emergence nests. When dominant wasps were presented with an egg covered with either (1) the Dufour's gland extract of a subordinate cofoundress, (2) the extract of an egg from the same subordinate, or (3) the solvent alone, the dominant female destroyed and replaced the eggs covered with the Dufour's extract significantly more frequently than the other eggs. Eggs with the extract of a nonnestmate's Dufour's gland were also eaten significantly more frequently than those with the solvent. Given similar choices, subordinates did not destroy any eggs. The Dufour's gland appears to have little or no role in communicating dominance directly among aggressively interacting cofoundresses.