Philopatric and nonphilopatric foundress associations in the social wasp Polistes fuscatus
Overwintering females of the paper wasp, Polistes fuscatus, were marked on their home colonies in 1977 and identified in the spring of 1978. Most females which joined foundress associations in 1978 did so with former nestmates, which are close relatives. The probability that any two associating females were nestmates ranges between 0.77 and 0.93.
Philopatric females — those which nested at the site where they emerged — enjoyed a higher probability that an associate would be a nestmate (0.90–1.00) than did nonphilopatric females (0.50–0.79).
Philopatric females formed associations of 2–7 wasps. Nonphilopatric females which did not found singly almost always formed associations of only two foundresses. The bias to two-foundress colonies in nonphilopatric females might be explained by a hypothesis of ‘selfish joining’.
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