Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 315–323 | Cite as

Intracolonial behavioral variation in worker oviposition, oophagy, and larval care in queenless honey bee colonies

  • Gene E. Robinson
  • Robert E. PageJr.
  • M. Kim Fondrk


Two experiments were performed to determine whether worker reproduction in queenless honey bee colonies is influenced by colony genetic structure. In Experiment 1, allozyme analyses of workers and worker-derived drone larvae revealed that in half the colonies, there were genotypic differences in worker egg-laying behavior (presumed to involve actual oviposition), but biases in drone production were not always consistent with biases in egg-laying behavior. In Experiment 2, allozyme analyses again revealed intracolonial differences in egg-laying behavior and in behavior patterns thought to involve oophagy and larval care. Data support the hypothesis of a genetic influence on this intracolonial behavioral variation. Differences in the genotypic distributions of worker-derived drones relative to workers engaged in oviposition behavior in queenless colonies may be a consequence of genetic variability for egg production or for treatment of eggs and larvae (possibly coupled with kin recognition), or both.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gene E. Robinson
    • 1
  • Robert E. PageJr.
    • 1
  • M. Kim Fondrk
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA
  3. 3.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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