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Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 51, Issue 6, pp 497–502 | Cite as

Mating and reproduction in the wasp Vespula germanica

  • Michael A. Goodisman
  • Robert W. Matthews
  • Ross H. Crozier
Original Article

Abstract.

We used polymorphic microsatellite markers to study patterns of queen and worker reproduction in annual nests of the wasp Vespula germanica in its introduced range in Australia. We found that queens were typically polyandrous (at least 85.4% mated multiply), with the minimum number of male mates ranging from 1 to 7. Calculations based on nestmate worker relatedness (r=0.46) yielded an estimate of effective queen mating frequency of 2.35. Queens were unrelated to their mates (r=–0.01), indicating that mating occurred at random within Australian V. germanica populations. In addition, the distribution of the minimum number of male mates of queens followed a Poisson distribution. This result suggested that the probability of a queen remating was not affected by previous copulations. We also discovered that mates of polyandrous queens contributed unequally to progeny production leading to significant male reproductive skew within nests. Analyses of nestmate male genotypes revealed that queens usually produced most or all males. However, workers were responsible for the production of many males in a few nests, and, in contrast to theoretical expectations, two of these nests were apparently queenright.

DNA microsatellites Relatedness Polyandry Social insects Worker reproduction 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Goodisman
    • 1
  • Robert W. Matthews
    • 2
  • Ross H. Crozier
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Genetics, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3083, AustraliaAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USAUSA

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