Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 257–264

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

  • Laura Beani
  • Stefano Turillazzi

DOI: 10.1007/BF00299840

Cite this article as:
Beani, L. & Turillazzi, S. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1988) 22: 257. doi:10.1007/BF00299840


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.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

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

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