New microsatellite loci for the socially diverse paper wasp genus Ropalidia


Michael Henshaw. Fax: 61 (7) 4781 5511; E-mail:


The Polistine wasps include both independent-founding species, with small, single-queen colonies founded by one or a few potential queens, and swarm-founding species, which have larger societies, many queens and initiate colonies as a swarm of queens and workers. Swarm-founding evolved from independent-founding and Ropalidia is the only genus with both types, making it an excellent model system for understanding this dramatic shift in colony organization. We have isolated 18 polymorphic microsatellite loci from three species of Ropalidia, including two independent-founding and one swarm-founding species. These loci will allow us to reconstruct colony social and genetic structures in this important genus.