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Nestmate discrimination in the social wasp Ropalidia marginata: chemical cues and chemosensory mechanism

Mitra, Aniruddha and Ramachandran, Arathy and Gadagkar, Raghavendra (2014) Nestmate discrimination in the social wasp Ropalidia marginata: chemical cues and chemosensory mechanism. In: ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 88 . pp. 113-124.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.11.017


Nestmate discrimination plays an important role in preserving the integrity of social insect colonies. It is known to occur in the primitively eusocial wasp Ropalidia marginata in which non-nestmate conspecifics are not allowed to come near a nest. However, newly eclosed females are accepted in foreign colonies, suggesting that such individuals may not express the cues that permit differentiation between nestmates and non-nestmates. As cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) have been implicated as chemosensory cues used in nestmate recognition in other species, we investigated, using bioassays and chemical analyses, whether CHCs can play a role in nestmate recognition in R. marginata. We found that individuals can be differentiated according to colony membership using their CHC profiles, suggesting a role of CHCs in nestmate discrimination. Non-nestmate CHCs of adult females received more aggression than nestmate CHCs, thereby showing that CHCs are used as cues for nestmate recognition. Contrarily, and as expected, CHCs of newly eclosed females were not discriminated against when presented to a foreign colony. Behavioural sequence analysis revealed the behavioural mechanism involved in sensing nestmate recognition cues. We also found that newly eclosed females had a different CHC profile from that of adult females, thereby providing an explanation for why young females are accepted in foreign colonies. (C) 2013 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: copyright for this article belongs to ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, ENGLAND
Keywords: adult; behavioural sequence analysis; bioassay; chemosensory cue; cuticular hydrocarbon; gas chromatography; nestmate discrimination; newly eclosed individual; Ropalidia marginata
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2014 08:10
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2014 08:10
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/48738

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