Multiple Aggressions Among Nestmates Lead to Weak Dominance Hampering Primitively Eusocial Behaviour in an Orchid Bee

SAMUEL BOFF, Claudia Akemi Saito, Isabel Alves-dos-Santos


Reproductive conflict expressed as aggression is common in social Hymenoptera. In eusocial species, as in honeybees, several mechanisms alleviate the conflicts and reduce aggressive interactions. Unlike their sister group, the orchid bees do not exhibit eusociality. Instead, most of the species seem to have lost sociality and some species have retained vestigial social behaviour. In the current study we investigated the aggressive interactions of females of Euglossa annectans Dressler through five generations of phylopatry and reuse of the natal nest. Although network analysis indicates that central individuals, those with more interactions, were more commonly the aggressors and others were more commonly the recipients, multiple attacks and several potential dominant female within the nest indicated a labile sociality. This suggests that there is an unstable social hierarchy in the species. Euglossa annectans, despite having overlapping generations, during which several individuals share a nest, there is no division of labour into reproductive and interactions are often competitive. Aggressive behaviours conducted by multiple fertile females were often followed by egg, larvae or pupae replacement.


Euglossa annectans, female bias sex ratio, offspring replacement, reproductive conflict, social evolution

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