Colony defensive behavior by the swarm-founding wasp Parachartergus pseudoapicalis: increase on investment predicts the intensity of nest defense

Research Article

Abstract

The parental investment (PI) theory predicts that animals that have the ability to care for their offspring should defend them with an optimal intensity to minimize the risks of predation. This study evaluates the stages of development that are more valued and, therefore, are more protected by the colonies of the founding wasp Parachartergus pseudoapicalis. We determined the effects on the colony defense intensity of colony size, adult population, and immature population size for different stages. As predicted by PI theory, we found that defense intensity was related to colony investment in offspring. In addition, we found no association between the number of adults in the colony and the defense intensity, whereas a greater number of immatures in the pupal stage in the colony led to greater defense intensity. Our study highlights the importance of parental care in social insects and the changes in defense behavior present in colonies with different compositions of individuals at different stages.

Keywords

Predation Parental investment Offspring defense Defensive behavior Aggressiveness Social wasp 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the funding source, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq). Emanuelle L. S. Brito and Marcos Aragão received master’s degree fellowship and Gilberto M. M. Santos received productivity fellowship (no. 303976/2016-0) from CNPq. We thank Bocaiúva Alimentos LTDA for providing us the permission to work on their property and for logistical support. We thank Janete Jane Resende for technical assistance and our lab colleagues Felipe Passos and Anna Thiciane Freitas for the great comments and input. We also thank the editor and reviewers for their careful reading on the paper and constructive comments.

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Copyright information

© International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Laboratório de EntomologiaUniversidade Estadual de Feira de SantanaFeira de SantanaBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Museu de Zoologia, Divisão de EntomologiaUniversidade Estadual de Feira de SantanaFeira de SantanaBrazil

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