Elements of eusociality in colonies of Eustenogaster calyptodoma (Sakagami & Yoshikawa) (Stenogastrinae, Vespidae)

Hansell, M. (1987) Elements of eusociality in colonies of Eustenogaster calyptodoma (Sakagami & Yoshikawa) (Stenogastrinae, Vespidae). Animal Behaviour, 35(1), pp. 131-141. (doi: 10.1016/S0003-3472(87)80218-X)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0003-3472(87)80218-X


The wasp Eustenogaster calyptodoma is at the lower limit of social complexity with colonies predominantly of one or two females. Nevertheless, in this study there was a recognizable division of labour with the oldest female guarding the nest entrance while a younger female did most of the foraging for food. This division of labour was maintained in the absence of any obvious dominance relationship. There was a female-biased sex ratio which could enhance the advantage to a female of staying in the maternal nest; however, colonies may be monogynous or polygynous and degrees of relatedness close or remote. Cooperation between females may therefore result from kinship effects or mutual interest in protection of nest and brood. Within a week of emergence, a young female generally left the nest to found a colony either by building her own nest or by usurping one plus its brood from another wasp. Usurping brood appears to be a method of acquiring assistance quickly in the running of the colony. The most advantageous action for a female therefore appears to be to found her own nest by usurping. Females failing to found probably return to the maternal nest. Factors promoting nest leaving probably include diluted degrees of relatedness between colony members due to polygyny and nest usurping, as well as to unsatisfactory nest material.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hansell, Professor Michael
Authors: Hansell, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Animal Behaviour
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1095-8282

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