Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 545–556

Male swarms at landmarks and scramble competition polygyny inPolistes gallicus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

  • Laura Beani
  • Stefane Turillazzi

DOI: 10.1007/BF01052017

Cite this article as:
Beani, L. & Turillazzi, S. J Insect Behav (1990) 3: 545. doi:10.1007/BF01052017


At the end of summer, males of Polistes gallicusfly in swarms around vertical landmarks and land in clusters on their favorite perches, where they drag their legs and abdomen. Here males occasionally crowd around a perched female; they make no effort to defend an exclusive mating territory but instead attempt to copulate by displacing rivals from the female. In this work we describe this spatial-nuptial system, which entails site fidelity without territoriality, unisexual swarms, common patrol routes, collective sexual approaches, and “scramble competition polygyny.” Mating success is evaluated in relation to the familiarity with flight paths (“routine patrollers” versus “newcomers”), to the type of sexual approach (“single” males versus “in- group” males), and, in the laboratory, to the individual activity level.

Key words

Polistes malesmating systemlandmarkswarmingscramble competition polygyny

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Beani
    • 1
  • Stefane Turillazzi
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e GeneticaUniversitá di FirenzeFirenzeItalia