Altruistic wasps?

Gadagkar, Raghavendra (2011) Altruistic wasps? Science, 333 (6044). pp. 833-834. ISSN 0036-8075

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL:

Related URL:


Polistes dominulus is one of the most common social wasps in Europe and is an invasive species in the United States. Its wide prevalence has made it one of the best-studied social wasps. In most social wasps, the female wasps live in a colony and organize themselves into a behavioral dominance hierarchy such that only the dominant alpha individual (the queen) reproduces while the rest function as apparently altruistic, sterile subordinates (workers), building the nest, foraging for food and pulp, and feeding and caring for the brood. Why should workers invest their time and energy helping to rear the queen's brood, rather than found their own nests and rear their own brood-something they are quite capable of? On page 874 of this issue, Leadbeater et al. (1) show that the subordinates indeed produce their own offspring and this raises interesting questions about the links between altruism, direct reproduction, and the evolution of social behavior.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to American Association for the Advancement of Science.
ID Code:75428
Deposited On:22 Dec 2011 14:20
Last Modified:22 Dec 2011 14:20

Repository Staff Only: item control page