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Virgin wasps develop ovaries on par with mated females, but lay fewer eggs

Shukla, S and Shilpa, MC and Gadagkar, R (2013) Virgin wasps develop ovaries on par with mated females, but lay fewer eggs. In: Insectes Sociaux, 60 (3). pp. 345-350.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00040-013-0299-1


In the primitively eusocial wasp Ropalidia marginata, mating is not necessary for a female wasp to develop her ovaries, lay eggs, and even to become the sole egg layer of her colony despite the presence of other mated nestmates. Here, we show that virgin wasps do not differ from their mated counterparts in the extent and rapidity of their ovarian development, in the proportion of individuals that build a nest and laid eggs, and in the time taken to do so. However, a significantly larger proportion of virgin females showed resorbing oocytes, and laid fewer eggs as compared to mated individuals. Thus, virgin females have the ability to develop ovaries and lay eggs but also to refrain from necessarily laying all mature eggs produced, before mating opportunities arise. This dual ability would be adaptive in haplodiploid, tropical species with perennial nesting cycles and frequent opportunities for workers to become replacement queens or solitary nest foundresses throughout the year.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Springer.
Keywords: Eusociality; Mating; Ovarian Development; Virgin Females; Nest Initiation
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Francis Jayakanth
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2013 16:51
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2013 16:51
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/47205

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