Social parasitism by workers in queenless and queenright Apis cerana colonies

Authors

  • P. NANORK,

    1. Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand,
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    • Present address: Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Mahasarakham University, Mahasarakham 44150, Thailand.

  • N. C. CHAPMAN,

    1. Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences A12, University of Sydney, N.S.W. 2006, Australia
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  • S. WONGSIRI,

    1. Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand,
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    • §

      Present address: Faculty of Technology, Mahasarakham 44150, Thailand.

  • J. LIM,

    1. Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences A12, University of Sydney, N.S.W. 2006, Australia
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  • R. S. GLOAG,

    1. Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences A12, University of Sydney, N.S.W. 2006, Australia
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  • B. P. OLDROYD

    1. Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences A12, University of Sydney, N.S.W. 2006, Australia
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B.P. Oldroyd, Fax: +61 29351 4771; E-mail: boldroyd@bio.usyd.edu.au

Abstract

We examined worker reproduction in queenless and queenright Apis cerana colonies to determine if they are parasitized by workers from other nests. The results demonstrate that 2–6% of workers in queenright colonies are from another nest (non-natal), but these workers are not statistically more likely to have activated ovaries than natal workers, and are therefore unlikely to be active parasites. However, in queenless colonies we found a significant difference between the proportion of non-natal (72.7%) and natal (36.3%) workers with activated ovaries. Non-natal workers also had significantly higher reproductive success than natal workers: 1.8% of workers were non-natal, but these laid 5.2% of the eggs and produced 5.5% of the pupae. Unlike A. florea, the proportion of non-natal workers does not increase in queenless nests.

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