Queen mating frequency and maternity of males in the stingless bee Trigona carbonaria Smith
Aspects of the sociobiology of the native Australian stingless bee Trigona carbonaria (Hymenoptera, Meliponini) were investigated using highly variable microsatellite markers. The queen mating frequency was estimated by examining genotypes of samples of workers from five colonies across three to five microsatellite loci. In each case, results were consistent with the workers being progeny of a queen mated with a single male. Microsatellite analysis of haploid males from two of the colonies suggested they predominantly arose from queen-laid eggs. As workers are more related to sons-of-workers than to sons-of-queens in monandrous colonies, this is somewhat surprising, and suggests that there may be colony-level costs associated with worker reproduction, or that queens are able to regulate worker reproduction via the ritualized cell provisioning and oviposition process. Males from another T. carbonaria colony were found to be diploid.
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