Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 315–321 | Cite as

Hibernation clustering and its consequences for associative nest foundation in Polistes dominulus (Hymenoptera Vespidae)

  • Leonardo Dapporto
  • Cristina Pansolli
  • Stefano Turillazzi
Original Article


Various studies indicate that cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) act as cues for nestmate recognition in paper wasps and other social insects. A recent study showed that associative nest foundation in Polistes dominulus is mainly performed by foundresses coming from the same locality. In the present study, we induced future foundresses of P. dominulus collected in two different localities to hibernate in the laboratory in aggregates of individuals from the same or different localities. After 2 months of hibernation, foundresses from different localities but from the same experimental cluster did not show any preference to associate, at the time of nest foundation, with individuals coming from the same original locality. The cuticular chemical profiles of individuals from the mixed hibernation clusters were quite similar and significantly different from those of individuals which hibernated with other foundresses from the same locality. These findings suggest that, in this species, mechanisms other than nestmate chemical recognition play a major role in the spring association of gynes during the foundation of a new nest.


Polistes dominulus Associative nest foundation Hibernation clusters Cuticular hydrocarbons Kin recognition 



We would like to thank Dr. R. Boulay and two anonymous referees for their advice and suggestions, Dr. Luciana Buozzi for her help during the collection of wasps, and Drs. Rita Cervo, Francesca Romana Dani, and Elisabetta Palagi for revising the paper. The research was funded by the Italian MIUR COFIN 2001 Project “Animal communication: an integrated study of chemical communication in social insects”, by INTERREG II-III project and by the Università di Firenze. All the experimental procedures conformed to Italian law.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonardo Dapporto
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cristina Pansolli
    • 1
  • Stefano Turillazzi
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e Genetica “Leo Pardi”Università di FirenzeFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Centro Interdipartimentale Museo di Storia Naturale e del Territorio dell’Università di PisaCalci (PI)Italy
  3. 3.Centro Interdipartimentale di servizi di Spettrometria di Massa (CISM)University of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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