Reproductivity of early males of the temperate paper wasp Polistes rothneyi iwatai


Kazuhisa Yamasaki, Laboratory of Insect Ecology, Faculty of Applied Biological Sciences, Gifu University, Yanagido 1-1, Gifu 501-1193, Japan. Email:


In Polistes paper wasps, haploid early males can mate with early emerging females and leave viable offspring. In contrast, diploid early males are eventually sterile because they contribute triploid offspring via diploid sperm. Clarifying the ploidy of early males is important for determining whether early male production is a reproductive strategy for the species. We examined the mating behavior and the ploidy of early males in the Japanese paper wasp, Polistes rothneyi iwatai van der Vecht. Thirteen early males from four colonies were all diploid. Two of the nine early males (22.2%) attempted to mate with females, but only one individual (11.1%) was successful (the female's spermatheca contained spermatozoa). These results suggest that although most early males of P. rothneyi iwatai do not produce offspring, their mating may be linked to the occasional production of triploid females.