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Queen Killing Is Linked to High Worker-Worker Relatedness in a Social Wasp [Current Biology]

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Social insect colonies are pinnacles of evolved altruism but also exhibit dramatic conflict among relatives [1 and 2]. In many species, a colony’s workers compete with the queen and each other over the production of males. Interspecific comparisons demonstrate the importance of within-colony relatedness in determining the outcome of such conflicts [3 and 4], but facultative responses to within-colony relatedness are rarely reported [5, 6 and 7]. Here, I report facultative matricide (worker killing of a colony’s queen) in the social wasp Dolichovespula arenaria.(...)

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