Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 97–107 | Cite as

Caste determination and differential diapause within the first brood of Halictus rubicundus in New York (Hymenoptera: Halictidae)

  • D. Yanega


The partially bivoltine, primitively eusocial sweat bee Halictus rubicundus produces two female castes, gynes and non-gynes, in its first brood in New York. Castes in this brood differentiate within the first few days of adult life, with gynes leaving the population to overwinter as early as mid-June (non-gynes further differentiate into replacement queen and worker subcastes, with older females typically dominant). Analysis of possible mechanisms of caste determination reveals that although gynes average significantly larger than non-gynes within the first brood, this appears largely due to a late mean emergence data coupled with an increase in the size of emerging females over the course of brood emergence, rather than a causal relationship. A strong correspondence between male abundance (relative to newly-emerged females) and the pattern of gyne production, along with data from dissections, suggests that females that mate when young become diapausing gynes, while those that do not mate promptly become non-gynes and do not diapause even though many mate later. Although alternatives to this simple mechanism cannot be ruled out entirely, it nevertheless offers profound implications for theoretical and empirical understanding of the evolutionary origins of the worker caste.


Causal Relationship Adult Life Evolutionary Origin Emergence Data Simple Mechanism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Yanega
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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