Worker policing in the common wasp Vespula Vulgaris is not aimed at inproving colony hygiene

Helanterä, H, Tofilski, A, Wenseleers, T and Ratnieks, F L W (2006) Worker policing in the common wasp Vespula Vulgaris is not aimed at inproving colony hygiene. Insectes Sociaux, 53 (4). pp. 399-402. ISSN 0020-1812

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Abstract

In insect societies, eggs laid by workers are frequently killed by other workers - a behaviour known as ¿worker policing¿. The traditional explanation of worker policing is that it is a mechanism to resolve intracolony conflict, and maintain the reproductive monopoly of the queen. Recently, Pirk et al. (2004) proposed that worker policing instead is aimed at removing unviable worker-laid eggs and is ultimately just another example of hygienic behaviour. Here we test this hypothesis for the common wasp Vespula vulgaris, a species with highly effective worker policing. We show that worker-laid eggs from queenless colonies have a lower hatch rate (68%) than queen-laid eggs (82%). Analysis of egg laying rates of queens and workers, however, shows that the difference is not big enough to explain the apparent absence of adult worker-derived males in this species.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Francis Ratnieks
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:23
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2012 15:48
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/31056
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