Larval sex identification in the paper wasp Polistes dominulus (Vespidae, Hymenoptera)
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- Cotoneschi, C., Scognamiglio, F., Scala, C. et al. Insect. Soc. (2007) 54: 132. doi:10.1007/s00040-007-0920-2
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Identifying the sex of larvae is important in social Hymenoptera. Until now for Polistes wasps it has been necessary to genotype larvae at microsatellite loci, and assign their sex based on homozygosity at these loci. In our study on the paper wasp Polistes dominulus we have found morphological differences between larval sexes that can be used for larvae from the 3rd instar on to easily and cheaply identify larval sex: the external gonopore and the shape and size of larval gonads. The robustness of these indicators was supported by genotype data at four microsatellite loci. Using gonopore and gonad features for sex assignment will assign diploid males as males, unlike techniques based on genetic loci or chromosomes.