Winner–loser effects in a eusocial wasp

Abstract

What makes some individuals behaviorally more dominant than others? Although intrinsic factors such as body size and age have been well studied, extrinsic social factors like winner and loser effects have never before been addressed in eusocial species. Here we demonstrated the existence of both winner and loser effects in the primitively eusocial wasp, Ropalidia marginata. Such relative self-assessment and adjustment of fighting abilities may have significant implications for survival and fitness, and could be adaptive, especially in a social species where dominance encounters with conspecifics is the norm.

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Acknowledgments

AB and RG designed the experiments, AB performed the experiments and data analysis and AB and RG co-wrote the paper. We thank Shilpa MC and Sruthi Unnikrishnan for assistance in the laboratory, and Anjan Nandi for helpful discussions. This work was supported by a fellowship to AB from the Indian Institute of Science, and by grants to RG from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research; Department of Science and Technology; Department of Biotechnology; and Ministry of Environment and Forests (Govt. of India).

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Correspondence to A. Bang.

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Bang, A., Gadagkar, R. Winner–loser effects in a eusocial wasp. Insect. Soc. 63, 349–352 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00040-015-0455-x

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Keywords

  • Dominance behavior
  • Eusocial
  • Loser effect
  • Ropalidia marginata
  • Winner effect