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      Males of Neotropical social wasps (Vespidae, Polistinae, Epiponini) recognize colonies with virgin females

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      Journal of Hymenoptera Research

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Male behavior of Neotropical swarm-founding wasps has rarely been observed. The few published observations about male activities only describe their behavior during the short period they spend inside nests. In consequence, virtually nothing is known about what they do outside the colonies, and even less is known about mating behavior. This paper provides the first report of Epiponini males arriving at a colony with virgin females. The behavior of males and workers after queen removal was observed in one colony of Chartergellus communis located at a farm in Pedregulho, São Paulo, Brazil. The day after queen elimination, males were observed outside the nest. When males tried to enter the nest, workers aggressively attacked them. These attacks were similar to the defensive behavior used when foreign conspecifics attempt to enter the nest. The aggressive workers response and the absence of males before queen removal indicated that the males did not belong to the colony. Additionally, no fights were observed between individuals before queen removal. It is likely that foreign males arrived at the colony to mate with virgin females. Observations suggest that epiponine males are able to find nests with virgin females in mature stages of the colony cycle, and that mating can occur during different stages of the colony cycle.

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          Most cited references 15

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          Mating behavior and chemical communication in the order Hymenoptera.

          Insects of the order Hymenoptera are biologically and economically important members of natural and agro ecosystems and exhibit diverse biologies, mating systems, and sex pheromones. We review what is known of their sex pheromone chemistry and function, paying particular emphasis to the Hymenoptera Aculeata (primarily ants, bees, and sphecid and vespid wasps), and provide a framework for the functional classification of their sex pheromones. Sex pheromones often comprise multicomponent blends derived from numerous exocrine tissues, including the cuticle. However, very few sex pheromones have been definitively characterized using bioassays, in part because of the behavioral sophistication of many Aculeata. The relative importance of species isolation versus sexual selection in shaping sex pheromone evolution is still unclear. Many species appear to discriminate among mates at the level of individual or kin/colony, and they use antiaphrodisiacs. Some orchids use hymenopteran sex pheromones to dupe males into performing pseudocopulation, with extreme species specificity.
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            The evolution of male traits in social insects.

            Pair formation in social insects mostly happens early in adult life and away from the social colony context, which precludes promiscuity in the usual sense. Termite males have continuous sperm production, but males of social Hymenoptera have fixed complements of sperm, except for a few species that mate before female dispersal and show male-fighting and lifelong sperm production. We develop an evolutionary framework for testing sexual selection and sperm competition theory across the advanced eusocial insects (ants, wasps, bees, termites) and highlight two areas related to premating sexual selection (sexual dimorphism and male mate number) that have remained understudied and in which considerable progress can be achieved with relatively simple approaches. We also infer that mating plugs may be relatively common, and we review further possibilities for postmating sexual selection, which gradually become less likely in termite evolution, but for which eusocial Hymenoptera provide unusual opportunities because they have clonal ejaculates and store viable sperm for up to several decades.
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              The rarity of multiple mating by females in the social Hymenoptera

               J Strassmann (2001)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Hymenoptera Research
                JHR
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2607
                1070-9428
                June 12 2014
                June 12 2014
                : 38
                : 135-139
                Article
                10.3897/jhr.38.7763
                © 2014
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