Effect of Larval Topical Application of Juvenile Hormone on Caste Determination in the Independent-Founding Eusocial Wasp Mischocyttarus consimilis (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

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ABSTRACT

Eusocial wasps are excellent models for understanding polyethism and division of labor among castes in social insects. However, little is known about the mechanisms controlling caste determination in eusocial wasps. Evidence suggests that the phenotype of queens in independent-founding (IF) eusocial wasps of the subfamily Polistinae can be partly fixed in the larval stage; however, this hypothesis has not yet been investigated. In this study we evaluate whether juvenile hormone (JH) affects pre-imaginal caste determination in the IF eusocial wasp Mischocyttarus consimilis (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Analyzing morphometric and behavioral data, we demonstrated experimentally that females emerging from larvae that were treated with JH in the third instar had a significantly larger body size, spent more time in the nest, and were subject to less physical aggression from nestmates compared with females emerging from untreated control larvae. These results indicate that phenotype differences among castes in IF eusocial wasps can be partly fixed in the pre-adult stage and influenced by variations in the JH titer.

Cite this paper

Montagna, T. , Raizer, J. and Antonialli-Junior, W. (2015) Effect of Larval Topical Application of Juvenile Hormone on Caste Determination in the Independent-Founding Eusocial Wasp Mischocyttarus consimilis (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 5, 174-184. doi: 10.4236/ojas.2015.52020.

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