International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI2018), August 5-10, 2018 in Guarujá, Brazil.

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Chemical cues do not reflect reproductive dominance in early stages of Mischocyttarus wasp colonies

Author(s):
Rafael Carvalho da Silva, Rafael Carvalho da Silva , Amanda Prato da Silva , Izabel Cristina Casanova Turatti , Fábio Santos do Nascimento
Institution(s):
Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Departamento de Biologia, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brasil; Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Departamento de Biologia, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brasil ; Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Departamento de Biologia, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brasil ; Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto, Departamento de Ciências Farmacêuticas, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brasil ; Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Departamento de Biologia, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brasil
Division of reproductive labor in primitively insect societies seems to be regulated by aggressive direct interactions. However, it has been suggested that chemical cues may influence reproduction as well. Differences of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) profiles can reflect reproductive roles and positions in the dominance hierarchy. Because reproduction capacity is related with the position occupied in the hierarchy, it is proposed that individuals are able to recognize the reproductive function of each nestmate. Although the idea be considered a consensus virtually nothing is known about which contexts determine variation of CHCs in Mischocyttarus wasp societies. Here we analyzed how cuticular hydrocarbon profiles are expressed by females in colony foundations. For this purpose, we selected 20 colonies of Mischocyttarus cerberus in pre-emergence phase, and each female was marked with paint dots in order to recognize the hierarchy position in each colony. After establishment of dominance hierarchy, females were collected and ovaries evaluated by dissections. Their CHCs were extracted by solvent and chemical analysis were made by using a GC-MS. Although we have found slight difference based on multivariate analyses of chemical compounds, females show a conspicuous overlap between reproductive roles based on their hierarchical positions which evidence similar of cuticular chemical profiles. This absence of separation could be explained by a wide gradient of ovarian patterns found among females, which may reflect the developmental stage of colonies (pre-emergence).This chemical variation may increase along the development of colonies, a greater impact is expected after the determination of reproductive roles of females who spend more energy working outside the nests than dominant ones. Our preliminary results evidence that chemical compounds may not play a role in early stages of colonies of primitively eusocial insects.
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