Title: Sneaky queens in Melipona bees selectively detect and infiltrate queenless colonies
Authors: Van Oystaeyen, Annette
Alves, Denise Araujo
Oliveira, Ricardo Caliari
do Nascimento, Daniela Lima
do Nascimento, Fabio Santos
Billen, Johan
Wenseleers, Tom # ×
Issue Date: 2013
Series Title: Animal Behaviour vol:86 issue:3 pages:603-609
Abstract: Insect societies are characterized by advanced cooperation, but at the same time the complexity of their colonies renders them susceptible to reproductive parasitism. Recently, a genetic study on the Brazilian stingless bee Melipona scutellaris showed that unrelated queens frequently invade and take over colonies in which the mother queen had died. In the present study, we investigated this phenomenon using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. We confirmed that alien queen take-overs are common within this species, and demonstrated that mated queens actively seek out colonies without a queen to reproduce in. Furthermore, we found that queens only penetrate their target colonies in the evening, when guarding efficiency is significantly reduced. We hypothesize that this strategy reduces the chance of the queens being attacked by entrance guards, thus maximizing their chance of successful infiltration.
ISSN: 0003-3472
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation Section
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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