Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 133–142 | Cite as

Influence of insect hormones on the establishment of dominance hierarchies among foundresses of the paper wasp, Polistes gallicus

  • Peter-Frank Röseler
  • Ingeborg Röseler
  • Alain Strambi
  • Roger Augier


Laboratory studies on overwintered foundresses of Polistes gallicus show that differences in the endocrine activity are mainly responsible for achieving the dominance rank. Females that became dominant had either larger corpora allata or more developed ovaries than subordinate females. Body size did not contribute to dominance rank. Since a correlation exists between the length of terminal oocytes and the ecdysteroid titre in haemolymph as well as between the volume of corpora allata and the synthesis of juvenile hormone, dominant behaviour is thought to depend upon an elevated hormone titre in haemolymph. Injections of juvenile hormone (JHI) and 20-hydroxyecdysone, separately and simultaneously, significantly increased the probability that the treated female would be the dominant female of a test pair. After a hierarchy has been established, endocrine activity in subordinate foundresses is inhibited by the dominant foundress that then monopolizes reproduction.


Body Size Juvenile Hormone Endocrine Activity Test Pair Dominance Hierarchy 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter-Frank Röseler
    • 1
  • Ingeborg Röseler
    • 1
  • Alain Strambi
    • 2
  • Roger Augier
    • 2
  1. 1.Zoologisches Institut (II) der UniversitätWürzburgFederal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.I.N.P. 6C.N.R.S.Marseille Cedex 9France

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