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Foundress Association in the Paper Wasp Polistes dominulus Christ. (Hymen. Vesp.). Effects of Dominance Hierarchy on the Division of Labour

Michel Pratte
Behaviour
Vol. 111, No. 1/4 (Dec., 1989), pp. 208-219
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4534815
Page Count: 12
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Foundress Association in the Paper Wasp Polistes dominulus Christ. (Hymen. Vesp.). Effects of Dominance Hierarchy on the Division of Labour
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Abstract

In this study, we investigated how various roles are distributed among associated females of Polistes dominulus Christ. The times spent on forty five different activities were observed in thirty one foundress associations. The females were classified into α, β and γ classes on the basis of the postures adopted in two-wasp encounters. Canonical discriminant analyses separated the three classes satisfactorily and ranked the class means in the correct dominance order. Alpha females spent significantly more time on behaviours related to reproduction and attendance at the nest, and significantly less time on foraging activities and various extra nest activities. In Beta females, the time spent on cell elongation was larger than in the other classes. Abdominal wagging was shorter in Gamma females than in the others. The total resting time was longer in α females, and the total grooming time was the same in all three classes. On the other hand, the ratios of resting time at the nest to the total resting time and the ratio of grooming at the nest to the total grooming time varied as a function of the females' dominance rank. It is suggested that individuals' aptitude for leaving the nest is a function of their hierarchical rank and that this aptitude partly determines which kinds of tasks are performed. /// L'étude présentée porte sur la distribution des divers rôles individuels dans l'association de fondatrices de Polistes dominulus Christ. Les durées moyennes (en secondes par heure) de 45 activités différentes ont été observées dans 31 associations de trois fondatrices, celles-ci étant classées en femelles Alpha, Beta ou Gamma selon les postures adoptées dans les rencontres. Des analyses discriminantes ont bien séparé les trois classes de guêpes et correctement placé les moyennes des classes sur l'échelle de dominance. Les femelles Alpha passent significativement plus de temps en activités liées à la reproduction et à l'occupation du nid, et significativement moins de temps en activités de récolte et diverses activités extranidales. Les femelles Beta emploient plus de temps en construction (surélévation alvéolaire), tandis que les femelles Gamma font moins de vibrations abdominales. Le temps total de repos est plus long chez les Alpha, et le temps total de toilettage est le même dans les trois classes. Par contre, les proportions des durées de repos et de toilettage au nid par rapport aux durées totales de repos et de toilettage varient en fonction du rang hiérarchique des femelles. On suggère que l'aptitude d'un individu à quitter le nid est fonction de son rang hiérarchique et que cette aptitude est en partie responsable du type de tâches exécutées.

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