Interpopulation variation in status signalling in the paper wasp Polistes dominulus

Green, Jonathan P and Field, Jeremy (2011) Interpopulation variation in status signalling in the paper wasp Polistes dominulus. Animal Behaviour, 81 (1). pp. 205-209. ISSN 0003-3472

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Contests between individuals over resources may be costly in terms of both time and energy expended and the risk of injury. Signals of status, or 'status badges', are thought to have evolved to minimize these costs by providing information about an individual's fighting ability or resource-holding potential (RHP) at the start of a contest. Studies on recently established North American populations of the paper wasp Polistes dominulus have demonstrated the existence of a status badge, in the form of black clypeal patterns, and have shown that rivals attend to these patterns during competitive interactions. However, observational data from studies in this wasp's native European range have failed to demonstrate a strong link between clypeal patterning and RHP. We undertook the first direct test of status signalling in a European population of P. dominulus, by testing receiver responses to clypeal pattern manipulations in a competitive foraging context. We found no evidence that individuals assessed rivals using the clypeal 'badge'. We discuss possible reasons for variation in signal use between the American and European populations, including genetic drift and environmental effects of the development and transmission of the signal. (C) 2010 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Jonathan Green
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:18
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2012 14:53
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