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Road to Royalty – Transition of Potential Queen to Queen in the Primitively Eusocial Wasp Ropalidia marginata



Road to Royalty – Transition of Potential Queen to Queen in the Primitively Eusocial Wasp Ropalidia marginata



Ethology 118(7)



Ropalidia marginata, a primitively eusocial wasp, is different from typical primitively eusocial species in having docile queens who cannot be using dominance to maintain reproductive monopoly and instead appear to use a pheromone from the Dufour's gland to do so. When a docile queen is removed from her colony, one of the workers (potential queen, PQ) becomes highly aggressive, and if the queen is not returned, gradually loses her aggression and becomes the new docile queen within a few days. We hypothesized that the decrease in aggression of the PQ with time since queen removal should be correlated with her change in ovaries and pheromone profile. Because the Dufour's gland hydrocarbon composition in R. marginata can be correlated with fertility, this also gave us an opportunity to test whether PQ is different from workers in her Dufour's gland hydrocarbons. In this study, we therefore trace the road to royalty in R. marginata, that is, the transition of the PQ during queen establishment, in terms of her ovaries, aggression, and Dufour's gland hydrocarbons. Our study focuses on queen establishment, which is important for understanding how reproductive conflict can be manifested and resolved.

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Accession: 036449121

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0310.2012.02059.x


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