The Queen of the Paper Wasp Polistes jokahamae (Vespidae: Polistinae) Is Not Aggressive but Maintains Her Reproductive Priority

Hideto Yoshimura, Junichi Yamada, Yoshihiro Y Yamada

Abstract


The behaviors performed on the nest by the foundress queen and workers of the paper wasp Polistes jokahamae were observed in three colonies in the field and one colony in a cage set in the field. Each queen was rarely ranked top in the dominance hierarchy determined by the pairwise dominance–subordinate interactions and did not display more frequent direct aggression toward the top-ranked worker than toward other workers. Furthermore, the queen exhibited aggression less frequently than did the most aggressive workers in all four colonies. The dominance order among the workers was positively correlated with the emergence order, with older workers being more dominant. The queen laid eggs in a dominant or monopolized way; some dominant workers laid eggs in three colonies. These observations suggest that the queen maintained her queen status, including her reproductive priority, using signals rather than aggression. Lateral vibrations (rapidly laterally vibrating the abdomen) and abdominal rubbing (rubbing the abdomen onto the comb) appeared to be candidate signals of the fertility or reproductive potential of the performer. Lateral vibrations were performed only by the queen, and their frequency was positively correlated with the frequency of ovipositing. The queen and some dominant workers performed abdominal rubbing; the frequency was higher for the queen than for any of the dominant workers early in the colony’s development, but not later. Although performers of abdominal rubbing were more likely to lay eggs than non-performers, the frequency of abdominal rubbing was not a predictor of the frequency of ovipositing.


Keywords


aggression; dominance hierarchy; primitive eusociality; Polistinae; signal; social insect

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v66i1.3577

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