Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp 402–406

Opportunistic discrimination of alien eggs by social wasps (Polistes biglumis, Hymenoptera Vespidae): a defense against social parasitism?

  • M. C. Lorenzi
  • F. Filippone
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s002650000251

Cite this article as:
Lorenzi, M. & Filippone, F. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2000) 48: 402. doi:10.1007/s002650000251


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.

Key words Brood recognition Egg discrimination Social parasitism Social wasps Polistes 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. C. Lorenzi
    • 1
  • F. Filippone
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell’Uomo dell’Università di Torino, Via Accademia Albertina 17, 10123 Torino, Italy e-mail: Tel.: +39-11-8122374, Fax: +39-11-8124561IT

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