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Cuticular hydrocarbons as caste-linked cues in Neotropical swarm-founding wasps

da Silva, Rafael Carvalho; Prato, Amanda; Tannure-Nascimento, Ivelize; Oi, Cintia Akemi; Wenseleers, Tom; Nascimento, Fabio; (2022) Cuticular hydrocarbons as caste-linked cues in Neotropical swarm-founding wasps. PeerJ , 10 , Article e13571. 10.7717/peerj.13571. Green open access

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Abstract

Wasps (Vespidae) are important organisms to understand the evolution of social behaviour. Wasps show different levels of sociality, which includes solitary to highly eusocial organisms. In social insect species, queens and workers differ in physiology and morphology. The Neotropical swarm-founding wasps (Epiponini) show a variety of caste syndromes. In this clade, the caste-flexibility is a unique characteristic, in which workers can become queens and swarm to start a new nest. The investigation of the caste system comparing several Epiponini species show a clear-cut morphological distinction between queens and workers, with a morphological continuum between queens and workers. However, whether cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) are used as cues for caste recognition in swarm-founding wasps is still unknown. We studied whether CHCs may display caste-linked differences in eleven species of Epiponini wasps and if CHCs differences would follow morphological patterns. Our results suggest that queens and workers of Epiponini wasps are chemically different from each other at two levels, qualitatively and quantitatively, or merely quantitatively. This variation seems to exist regardless of their morphological traits and may be useful to help us understanding how chemical communication evolved differently in these species.

Type: Article
Title: Cuticular hydrocarbons as caste-linked cues in Neotropical swarm-founding wasps
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.13571
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.13571
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Keywords: Castes, Chemical signaling, Queen pheromones, Reproduction
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10150610
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