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Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 401–410 | Cite as

A polygynous nest ofVespula pensylvanica from California with a discussion of possible factors influencing the evolution of polygyny inVespula

  • F. L. W. Ratnieks
  • R. S. Vetter
  • P. K. Visscher
Research Article

Summary

A thriving, polygynous, and probably overwintered colony of the western yellowjacket,Vespula pensylvanica, was collected on 2 November 1994 in Riverside, southern California, and examined in detail. The colony had 14 combs, of combined area 1.30 m2 containing 55,704 small and 10,266 large cells. There were 17 functional, physogastric queens, 70 newly emerged non-reproductive queens, 7300 adult workers, 685 adult males, and c. 17,600 capped cells containing pupae or fully-fed larvae. Dissections of 200 workers showed that none had well-developed ovaries. Hypotheses for the rarity of polygyny inVespula are put forward and evaluated.

Key words

Vespula pensylvanica polygyny Vespidae 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. L. W. Ratnieks
    • 1
  • R. S. Vetter
    • 1
  • P. K. Visscher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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