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Seasonal variation in the onset of egg laying in a primitively eusocial wasp: implications for the evolution of sociality

Gadagkar, R and Bhagavan, S and Malpe, R and Vinutha, C (1991) Seasonal variation in the onset of egg laying in a primitively eusocial wasp: implications for the evolution of sociality. In: Entomon, 16 (3). 167 -174.

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When freshly eclosed females of the primitively eusocial wasp, Rapalidia marginata are isolated into individual cages, only about half of them build nests and lay eggs and those that do so take a long and variable amount of time (Mean +/- SD = 66 +/- 37 days) before they lay their first egg. Part of the reason for this delay is because, when kept in isolation, no wasp begins to lay eggs during a period of approximately 82 days from mid - October to early January. Wasps maintained at a constant temperature of 26 +/- 1-degrees-C however initiate egg laying throughout the year, suggesting that the low temperatures during mid - October to early January may be at least one factor that makes this period unfavourable for wasps maintained at room temperature. Egg laying continues more or less normally throughout October-January however, in all natural and laboratory colonies studied. Natural colonies of R. marginata are initiated throughout the year and often by groups of females. Huddling together is a striking feature of the wasps especially on cold mornings. We therefore suggest that the isolated animals in our experiment are unable to lay eggs during the coldest part of the year because of their inability to huddle together, share metabolic heat and perform "co-operative thermoregulation". Such "co-operative thermoregulation" may thus be another factor that facilitates the evolution of socialitly.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Assoc Advancement Entomology.
Keywords: social wasp;Rapa/idia marginara;seasonal variation in egg-laying, evolution of sociality;thermoregulation.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Ms Mary Ranjeetha
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2010 08:52
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2010 08:52
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/34123

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