Opportunistic discrimination of alien eggs by social wasps (Polistes biglumis, Hymenoptera Vespidae): a defense against social parasitism?
- Cite this article as:
- Lorenzi, M. & Filippone, F. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2000) 48: 402. doi:10.1007/s002650000251
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Foundresses of the social wasp Polistes biglumis were tested to see whether they were able to recognize alien eggs experimentally introduced into their own nests. Foundresses removed alien conspecific reproductive-destined eggs while they accepted worker-destined eggs. The results indicate that social wasps discriminate among eggs and that they discriminate against alien eggs destined to produce unrelated reproductives. P. biglumis is a strictly solitary founding species, with no reproductive competition within colonies; thus, brood discrimination abilities could have evolved as a counteradaptation against intra- and inter-specific brood parasitism.