Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 257–264 | Cite as

Alternative mating tactics in males of Polistes dominulus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

  • Laura Beani
  • Stefano Turillazzi


In summer, males of Polistes dominulus form large aggregations at sunny landmarks. We identified two size-correlated behavioural categories: residents (R) and transient (T). R males, which constitute 20%–25% of the total population, are larger than T males, territorial, aggressive, and more site-faithful, while T males range more widely, are non-aggressive, and show little site tenacity. Field and laboratory data suggest that R males have an advantage in mating, particularly if they engage in frequent flights while on their territories. These alternative mating tactics within the same population are combined with behavioural flexibility in some individuals, which switch from one option to the other.


Total Population Laboratory Data Large Aggregation Behavioural Flexibility Behavioural Category 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alcock J (1975) Territorial behavior by males of Philantus multimaculatus (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae) with a review of territoriality in male sphecids. Anim Behav 23:889–895Google Scholar
  2. Alcock J (1978) Notes on male mate-locating behaviour in some bees and wasps of Arizona. Pan-Pacif Ent 54:215–225Google Scholar
  3. Alcock J (1983) Consistency in the relative attractiveness of a set of landmark territorial sites to two generations of male tarantula nawk wasps (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae). Anim Behav 31:74–80Google Scholar
  4. Alcock J, Schaefer JE (1983) Hilltop territoriality in a Sonoran desert bot fly (Diptera:Cuterebridae). Anim Behav 31:518–525Google Scholar
  5. Alcock J, Eickwort GC, Eickwort KR (1977) The reproductive behavior of Anthidium maculosum (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) and the evolutionary significance of multiple copulations by females. Behav Ecol Sociobil 2:385–396Google Scholar
  6. Beani L, Turillazzi S (1984) Strategie riproduttive dei maschi di Polistes gallicus e Polistes foederatus (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Boll Zool 51:9Google Scholar
  7. Beani L, Cervo R, Turillazzi S (1986) Territorial and patrolling males of three European Polistes wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). In: Eder J, Rembold H (eds) Abs 10 th Int Congress IUSSI, Müchen, 188 pGoogle Scholar
  8. Bradbury JW (1981) The evolution of leks. In: Alexander RD, Tinkle DW (eds) Natural selection and social behavior: recent research and theory. Chiron Press, New York, pp 138–169Google Scholar
  9. Day M (1979) The species of Hymenoptera described by Linnaeus in the genera Sphex Chrysis, Vespa, Apis, and Mutilla. Biological J Linn Soc 12 (1):45–84Google Scholar
  10. Dawkins R (1980) Good strategy or evolutionarily stable strategy? In: Barlow GW, Silverberg J (eds) Sociobiology: beyond nature/nurture? Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, pp 331–367Google Scholar
  11. Di Stefano SL (1972) Inconsuete sciamature autunnali di maschi di Polistes (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Atti IX Congr Naz Ital Ent, pp 59–64Google Scholar
  12. Eberhard WG (1985) Female discretion after genitalic contact. In: Sexual selection and animal genitalia. Harvard Univ Press, Cambridge Massachusetts London, pp 107–119Google Scholar
  13. Emlen S, Oring L (1977) Ecology, sexual selection, and the evolution of mating systems. Science 197:215–223Google Scholar
  14. Evans HE, West Eberhard MJ (1970) The wasps. Univ Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, pp 1–266Google Scholar
  15. Kasuya E (1981) Male mating territory in a japanese paper wasp, Polistes jadwigae Dalla Torre (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Kontyu, Tokyo, 49 (4):607–614Google Scholar
  16. Larch CM, Gamboa GJ (1981) Investigation of mating preference for nestmates in the paper wasp Polistes fuscatus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). J Kansas Entomol Soc 54(4):811–814Google Scholar
  17. Lin N (1972) Territorial behavior among males of the social wasp Polistes exclamans Viereck. Proc Ent Soc Wash 74:148–155Google Scholar
  18. Matthes-Sears W, Alcock J (1986) Hiltopping behavior of Polistes commanchus navajoe (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Ethology 71:42–53Google Scholar
  19. Marshall LD, Alcock J (1981) The evolution of the mating system of the Carpenter bee Xylocopa varipuncta (Hymenoptera: Anthophoridae). J Zool Lond 193:315–324Google Scholar
  20. Noonan KM (1978) Sex ratio of parental investment in colonies of the social wasp Polistes fuscatus. Science 199:1354–1356Google Scholar
  21. Pardi L (1943) Ricerche sui Polistini. VI. Sulla sproporzione numerica dei sessi nei nidi dei Polistini. Atti della Societa' Toscana di Scienze Naturali. LII (2):3–9Google Scholar
  22. Post DC, Jeanne RL (1983a) Relatedness and mate selection in Polistes fuscatus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Anim Behav 31:1260–1261Google Scholar
  23. Post DC, Jeanne RL (1983b) Male reproductive behaviour of the social wasp Polistes fuscatus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Z Tierpsychol 62:157–171Google Scholar
  24. Thornhill R, Alcock J (1983) The evolution of insect mating systems. Harvard Univ Press, Cambridge Massachusetts London, pp 1–547Google Scholar
  25. Turillazzi S (1980) Seasonal variations in the size and anatomy of Polistes gallicus (L.) (Hymenoptera Vespidae). Monit Zool Ital (NS) 14:63–75Google Scholar
  26. Turillazzi S, Cervo R (1982) Territorial behaviour in males of P. nimpha (Christ) (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Z Tierpsychol 58:174–180Google Scholar
  27. Turillazzi S, Beani L (1985) Mating behaviour in the paper wasp Polistes gallicus (L.) (Hymenoptera Polistinae). Monit Zool It (NS) 19:169–170Google Scholar
  28. Verhoeff C (1895) Beitrag zur Biologie von Polistes. Ent Nachr 21:221Google Scholar
  29. Wenzel JW (1987) Male reproductive behavior and mandibular glands in Polistes major (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Insect Soc 34:44–57Google Scholar
  30. West Eberhard MJ (1969) The social biology of polistine wasps. Misc Publ Mus Zool Univ Mich 140:1–101Google Scholar
  31. Yoshikawa K (1963) Introductory studies on the life enonomy of polistine wasps. V. Three stages relating to hibernation. J Biol Osaka City Univ 14:87–96Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Beani
    • 1
  • Stefano Turillazzi
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e GeneticaUniversità di firenzeFirenzeItaly

Personalised recommendations