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Early Termination of Brood Rearing in the Social Wasp, Polistes annularis (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

Joan E. Strassmann
Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society
Vol. 62, No. 3 (Jul., 1989), pp. 353-362
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25085102
Page Count: 10
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Early Termination of Brood Rearing in the Social Wasp, Polistes annularis (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)
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Abstract

Colonies of Polistes annularis ceased rearing brood on average on 26 August 1977 and 14 September 1978 at a study site near Austin, Texas, U.S.A. Since warm weather lasts through October, and other species in nearby Austin, Texas, continue to rear brood into October, it appears that there must be a special reason for the early cessation of brood production by colonies of P. annularis. Females emerging from the nest may cease rearing brood and instead become gynes after the original queen dies because of decreases in the number of young they can rear and because of decreases in their relatedness to young. I found that colonies that lost their original queens earlier ceased producing brood earlier, even though fully fertile females took over as queen after the loss of the original queen. Females emerging from the nest also may cease rearing brood if brood rearing conditions are poor. In years of low rainfall there may be no prey available to feed brood later in the summer. Colonies ceased rearing brood earlier in 1977, which was a drought year, than they did in 1978, which was not. The great density of colonies at this study site may be the cause of early brood rearing cessation in both years as compared to other species in the same area that have more dispersed colonies.

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