Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 105–110 | Cite as

Comb cutting inRopalidia plebeiana: a new process of colony fission in social wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

  • S. Yamane
  • Y. Itô
  • J. P. Spradbery
Research Articles


Females of an Australian polistine wasp,Ropalidia plebeiana, often use their mandibles to cut their nest-comb in spring, dividing it into two or more completely independent nests. Prior to the division, each of the major egg layers, often with some subordinates, tended to occupy a different part of a single comb. These females gnawed cells in the intermediate zone between such “territories”, and ultimately divided the comb. Many other females also built new nests near the nest aggregations, but addition of new nests by comb cutting represented 34.8 % of the increase in nest number. This method of colony fission is so far unknown in any eusocial Hymenoptera.

Key words

Hymenoptera social wasps sociotomy behaviour Ropalidia 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Yamane
    • 1
  • Y. Itô
    • 2
  • J. P. Spradbery
    • 3
  1. 1.Biological Laboratory, Faculty of EducationIbaraki UniversityMitoJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Applied Entomology and NematologyNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  3. 3.Division of EntomologyCSIROCanberraAustralia

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