Journal Article

Division of labor in colonies of the eusocial wasp, Mischocyttarus consimilis

Viviana O. Torres, Thiago S. Montagna, Josué Raizer and William F. Antonialli-Junior

Edited by Robert Jeanne

in Journal of Insect Science

Volume 12, issue 1
Published online February 2012 | e-ISSN: 1536-2442 | DOI:

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The division of labor between castes and the division of labor in workers according to age (temporal polyethism) in social wasps are crucial for maintaining social organization. This study evaluated the division of labor between castes, and the temporal polyethism in workers of Mischocyttarus consimilis Zikán (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). To describe the behavioral repertory of this species, observations were made of 21 colonies, with 100 hours of observations. In order to observe temporal polyethism, each newly emerged wasp was marked with colored dots on the upper area of the thorax. This allowed the observation of behavioral acts performed by each worker from the time of emergence to its death. Through hybrid multidimensional scaling, a clear division between queens and workers could be identified, in which the behaviors of physical dominance and food solicitation characterized the queen caste; while behaviors such as adult– adult trophallaxis, destruction of cells, alarm, foraging for prey, foraging for nectar, and unsuccessful foraging characterized the worker caste. Hybrid multidimensional scaling characterized two groups, with intra–nest activities preferentially accomplished by younger workers, while extra–nest activities such as foraging were executed more frequently by older workers.

Keywords: age; division of tasks; dominance; ethogram; Polistinae

Journal Article.  5102 words.  Illustrated.

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