Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 87, Issue 6, pp 266–269 | Cite as

Absence of within-colony kin discrimination: foundresses of the social wasp, Polistes carolina, do not prefer their own larvae

  • J. E. Strassmann
  • P. Seppä
  • D. C. Queller
SHORT COMMUNICATION

Abstract

 There is great potential for conflict within social insect colonies especially when there are multiple inseminated females laying eggs. One reason that conflict is not always realized may be that these females do not identify their own progeny and direct their attentions preferentially towards them. Using DNA microsatellite loci we were able to determine exactly which female was the mother of each larva in eight nests of the social wasp, Polistes carolina. Using 26 h of videotapes of natural nests we observed 2,093 feedings of specific larvae by these adults and found that they did not preferentially feed their own progeny. Instead feedings were distributed to progeny as predicted based on their frequency in the nest. The absence of nepotism towards closest kin within colonies in this system is likely to promote colony harmony.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Strassmann
    • 1
  • P. Seppä
    • 1
  • D. C. Queller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University, PO Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251–1892, USA e-mail: strassm@rice.edu Tel.: +1-713-3484922 Fax: +1-713-3485232US

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