Queens and Workers of the Primitively Eusocial Wasp Ropalidia marginata do not Differ in Their Dufour’s Gland Morphology

Aniruddha Mitra


Ropalidia marginata is a primitively eusocial paper wasp found in peninsular India, where recent work suggests the role of the Dufour’s gland hydrocarbons in queen signaling. It appears that the queen signals her presence to workers by rubbing the tip of her abdomen on the nest surface, thereby presumably applying her Dufour’s gland secretion to the nest. Since the queen alone produces pheromone from the Dufour’s gland and also applies it on the nest surface, the activity level of queen gland should be higher than that of worker gland, as the gland contents would have to get replenished periodically for queens but not for workers. The difference in activity level can be manifested in difference in Dufour’s gland morphology, larger glands implying higher activity levels and smaller glands implying lower activity levels, as positive correlation between gland size and gland activity has been reported in exocrine glands of various taxa (including Hymenopteran insects). Hence we investigated whether there is any size difference between Dufour’s glands of queens and workers in R. marginata. We found that there was no difference between queens and workers in their Dufour’s gland size, implying that Dufour’s gland activity and Dufour’s gland size are likely to be uncorrelated in this species.


Dufour’s gland; morphometry; Ropalidia marginata; queens; workers

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v59i3.553


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