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High-resolution genetic markers have revolutionized our understanding of vertebrate mating systems, but have so far yielded few comparable surprises about kinship in social insects. Here we use microsatellite markers to reveal an unexpected and unique social system in what is probably the best-studied social wasp, Polistes dominulus. Social insect colonies(More)
In order to gain insights into the mechanistic basis of caste and behavioral differences in Polistes paper wasps, we examined abdominal lipid stores and ovary development in Polistes metricus females in four groups: foundresses, queens, workers, and gynes. Queens had the largest ovaries, followed by foundresses, workers, and gynes. Gynes had 6x higher lipid(More)
When cooperation is based on shared genetic interests, as in most social insect colonies, mechanisms which increase the genetic similarity of group members may help to maintain sociality. Such mechanisms can be especially important in colonies with many queens because within-colony relatedness drops quickly as queen number increases. Using microsatellite(More)
Mating systems are important determinants of genetic structure in cooperative groups, and their effects can influence profoundly the interactions of group members. The primitively eusocial wasp, Ropalidia revolutionalis, has an interesting genetic and social structure that makes it an excellent model system for examining the evolution of more complex(More)
We developed 52 microsatellite loci for the wasp, Polybioides tabidus, for the purpose of studying the evolution and inclusive fitness consequences of swarm-founding. The large number of loci is important for three reasons that may apply to many other systems. Heterozygosity was low in our target species, yet we found enough polymorphic loci for accurate(More)
Knowing whether workers or queens control reproduction is vital for understanding social evolution in insects. Among epiponine wasps, a significant part of reproduction is the production of daughter swarms. One of the first behaviors indicative of swarming is the buzzing run - a behavior in which a wasp runs rapidly back and forth on the natal nest, bumping(More)
Complex, highly integrated societies have evolved from simpler societies repeatedly, and the social insects provide an excellent model system for understanding increasing complexity and integration. In the paper wasps, large societies, known as swarm-founding, have evolved repeatedly from smaller societies, known as independent-founding. Swarm-founding(More)
Over the last 20 years, microsatellites have revolutionized the study of cooperation in the social insects. The Polistes paper wasps have been an important model system for investigations of cooperative behavior. Recently, an expressed sequence tag (EST) library has been developed for P. metricus, allowing researchers to investigate the genetic basis of(More)
We studied a population of the Australian weaver ant Polyrachis robsoni with regard to variation in the morphology of its winged queens using six newlydeveloped microsatellite markers. Morphometrically the queens fell clearly into two groups, macrogynes and microgynes, with the latter an isometric reduction of the former. Aggression tests showed that(More)