Inhibition of Host Queen Reproductive Capacity by the Obligate Social Parasite Polistes atrimandibularis (Hymenoptera, Vespidae)

Authors

  • Rita Cervo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dipartimento di Biologia Animate e Genetica, Universitâ di Firenze, Firenze and Dipartimento di Morfofisiologia Veterinaria, Universitâ di Torino, Torino
      Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e Genetica, Universitâ di Firenze, via Romana 17, 50125 Firenze, Italy.
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  • M. Cristina Lorenzi

    1. Dipartimento di Biologia Animate e Genetica, Universitâ di Firenze, Firenze and Dipartimento di Morfofisiologia Veterinaria, Universitâ di Torino, Torino
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Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e Genetica, Universitâ di Firenze, via Romana 17, 50125 Firenze, Italy.

Abstract

Polistes atrimandibularis is the obligate and permanent parasite of the social paper wasp Polistes biglumis bimaculatus. This parasite lives together with the host foundress for a considerable period on the invaded nest. Ovarian development was measured in females of the host species (foundresses and, when present, workers) from 18 parasitized and 14 non-parasitized colonies. The reproductive capacity of foundresses from parasitized nests decreased faster than that of foundresses from non-parasitized nests. These results indicate that the presence of the parasite lowers reproductive capacity of the host queen. Simultaneously, the fertility of the host worker is inhibited.

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