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Volume 101, Issue 1-2, Pages 33-36

Nestmate Copulation in the Neotropical Eusocial Wasp Polistes Instabilis de Saussure (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis 95616, CA, USA

Received 21 December 1993

Copyright © 1994 Sean O'Donnell.


Copulation between individually marked nestmates of the Neotropical eusocial wasp Polistes instabilis is reported. Polistes copulations are rarely observed in the field; this observation is the first documented case of nestmate copulation in the genus. Hamilton (1964) predicted high rates of nestmate copulation for tropical Polistes populations which have asynchronous colony cycles relative to temperate populations. Nestmate copulation may lead to relatively high levels of inbreeding in tropical Polistes species.