Royal Society Publishing

Queen and worker policing in monogynous and monandrous colonies of a primitively eusocial wasp

T. Saigo, K. Tsuchida


Kin–selection theory predicts that a worker prefers to produce her own sons in a colony with monandry and monogyny because relatedness to her sons (0.5) and nephews (0.375) exceeds that to brothers (0.25). In spite of this prediction, recent studies reveal that workers police each other (mutual–worker egg removal) even in monandrous and monogynous colonies. We conducted field and laboratory studies to evaluate queen and worker policing in queen–right colonies of the primitively eusocial wasp Polistes chinensis antennalis. Genetic studies using microsatellite markers, as well as extensive observations of natural colonies, revealed that both queen and workers removed both queen– and worker–laid eggs in monogynous and monandrous colonies. The queen–s eggs survived to hatching more successfully than those of the workers (88.5% versus 1.4%). We discuss the likely factors to explain these worker–policing behaviours.

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