Absence of within-colony kin discrimination: foundresses of the social wasp, Polistes carolina, do not prefer their own larvae
- Cite this article as:
- Strassmann, J., Seppä, P. & Queller, D. Naturwissenschaften (2000) 87: 266. doi:10.1007/s001140050718
There is great potential for conflict within social insect colonies especially when there are multiple inseminated females laying eggs. One reason that conflict is not always realized may be that these females do not identify their own progeny and direct their attentions preferentially towards them. Using DNA microsatellite loci we were able to determine exactly which female was the mother of each larva in eight nests of the social wasp, Polistes carolina. Using 26 h of videotapes of natural nests we observed 2,093 feedings of specific larvae by these adults and found that they did not preferentially feed their own progeny. Instead feedings were distributed to progeny as predicted based on their frequency in the nest. The absence of nepotism towards closest kin within colonies in this system is likely to promote colony harmony.