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In many social insects the relationship between reproductive dominance and physiological correlates is poorly understood. Recent evidence now strongly suggests that cuticular hydrocarbons are important in reproductive differentiation in these societies where they are used as signals of ovarian activity in reproductive females. In this study we investigated(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)
Hamilton's theory [1] for the evolution of social behaviour predicts that helpers may renounce direct reproduction to help their more fertile kin. Intra-colony recognition among queens and helpers (subordinate queens or workers) is consequently a central issue in insect sociobiology. In social insects, cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) are involved in(More)
Chemical communication is widespread in insects and is crucial for colony organization in social species [1]. The environment and the signal requirements influence the chemical characteristics of the pheromone employed [1]. Highly volatile substances elicit rapid responses, as in alarm signalling, whereas low volatility compounds provide long-lasting cues(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)
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)
To establish a dominance order, social animals often rely on indicators of fighting to avoid costly aggressive encounters. In some species, individuals use colour patterns to signal their social status. Recent studies claimed that facial markings in the eusocial paper wasp Polistes dominulus are status badges that allow co-foundresses to form a linear(More)
Differences in long-chain hydrocarbon mixtures among reproductive and nonreproductive individuals have been often revealed in social insects. However, very few papers demonstrated that these signatures actually act as contact pheromones used by nonreproductive to recognize the presence of a related queen in the colony. Cuticular and glandular hydrocarbons(More)
In social insects, cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) play an important role in nestmate discrimination processes, but young individuals are usually not discriminated. We studied CHC changes in young workers of the social wasp Polistes dominulus. A quantitative estimation demonstrated that total quantities of CHCs increased after emergence, with branched alkanes(More)
Social life offers animals increased fitness opportunities. However, the advantages are not evenly distributed and some individuals benefit more than others. The ultimate advantage of reaching the highest rank in a dominance hierarchy is the achievement of reproduction monopoly. In social insects, dominant individuals and queens keep their reproductive(More)