Stefano Turillazzi

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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)
Polistes dominulus, a common Polistes species with Old World distribution, is now invading the United States. We discuss those characteristics of P. dominulus that may explain its successful establishment in its new American environment. A versatile diet, the ability to colonize new environments and a short development time of the immature brood might have(More)
. Most species of social insect are characterized by a reproductive division of labor among morphologically specialized individuals. In contrast, there exist many species where all individuals are morphologically identical and dominance relationships determine which individuals mate and/or reproduce. In newly founded multiple-foundress associations of the(More)
In social insects, recognition of nestmates from aliens is based on olfactory cues, and many studies have demonstrated that such cues are contained within the lipid layer covering the insect cuticle. These lipids are usually a complex mixture of tens of compounds in which aliphatic hydrocarbons are generally the major components. The experiments described(More)
Several studies of social insects have shown that epicuticular hydrocarbons are involved in recognition. The hypothesis is that the animals can use differences in chemical composition to acquire information about conspecific status (sex, colony, reproductive status or caste recognition). In this study, we searched for differences between the epicuticular(More)
Saccharomyces cerevisiae is one of the most important model organisms and has been a valuable asset to human civilization. However, despite its extensive use in the last 9,000 y, the existence of a seasonal cycle outside human-made environments has not yet been described. We demonstrate the role of social wasps as vector and natural reservoir of S.(More)
The controversial mating of the strepsipteran Xenos vesparum was studied to investigate the possible sperm routes for fertilization. The female, which is a neotenic permanent endoparasite of Polistes wasps, extrudes only its anterior region, the "cephalothorax," from the host abdomen. This region has an opening where both mating and larval escape occur.(More)
The expression of chemosensory proteins (CSPs) and odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) in individuals of different castes and ages have been monitored in three species of social hymenopterans, Polistes dominulus (Hymenoptera, Vespidae), Vespa crabro (Hymenoptera, Vespidae) and Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera, Apidae), using PCR with specific primers and polyclonal(More)
Members of the odorant-binding protein (OBP) and chemosensory protein (CSP) families were identified and characterised in the sensory tissues of the social wasp Polistes dominulus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Unlike most insects so far investigated, OBPs were detected in antennae, legs and wings, while CSPs appeared to be preferentially expressed in the(More)
Arising from M. A. Nowak, C. E. Tarnita & E. O. Wilson 466, 1057-1062 (2010); Nowak et al. reply. Nowak et al. argue that inclusive fitness theory has been of little value in explaining the natural world, and that it has led to negligible progress in explaining the evolution of eusociality. However, we believe that their arguments are based upon a(More)