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Can genetically unrelated individuals join colonies of Ropalidia marginata ?

Arathi, HS and Gadagkar, Raghavendra (1996) Can genetically unrelated individuals join colonies of Ropalidia marginata ? [Book Chapter]


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Field and laboratory investigations of the primitively eusocial wasp Ropalidia marginata suggest that worker behaviour cannot be explained satisfactorily either by intra-colony genetic relatedness or by parental manipulation. Besides, polyandry and serial polygyny lead to high levels of intra-colony genetic variability. For these reasons, an attempt was made to explore the role of mutualistic interactions in social evolution.Artificially mixed colonies were created introducing 4-12 one day old unrelated female wasps into six semi-natural colonies of Ropalidia marginata. Wasps naturally eclosing on the colonies during the period of introduction were used as controls. All introduced animals were accepted without any significant aggression. The introduced animals stayed on their foster colonies as long as the controls did. There was no evidence of any differential treatment or ecognition of the introduced animals by the older animals in the foster colonies. Five out of 56 introduced animals went on to become foragers, and brought food to their foster colonies within 25 days of introduction. This is not significantly different from the fact that six out of 38 control animals also became foragers during the same period. More importantly, in two of the six colonies where there were natural queen turn overs, an introduced animal became the replacement queen in both cases. These results lend support to mutualistic theories of social evolution.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publication: Readings in Behaviour
Publisher: New Age International Limited
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to New Age International Limited.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2006
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:33
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/9113

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