Behavioral syndromes in a Neotropical Swarm-founding wasp, Asteloeca ujhelyii
Ivelize Cunha Tannure Nascimento, Fabio Santos do Nascimento , Ronaldo Zucchi
Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Sul de Minas Gerais, Muzambinho_MG, Brazil; Departamento de Biologia, Universidade de São Paulo, Robeirão Preto, Brazil ; Departamento de Biologia, Universidade de São Paulo, Robeirão Preto, Brazil
Division of labor in social insects emerges from feedback mechanisms and interactions among workers, therefore it is possible to predict how the interactions of those workers produce since simple to complex pattern of colonial organization. In social wasps, classical studies have showed that age polyethism is a consistent pattern found in Neotropical swarm-founding wasps. Here, we made two long-term set of observations (120 hours in total) using a poorly known species, Asteloeca ujhelyii, in order to understand how intrinsic requirements of colony (size) affect task performance of workers. We analyzed 2605 behavioral acts performed by 50 marked workers during 44 hours of video-recordings registered in Rio Branco, Acre State. Principal component analyses (PCA) showed that number of workers allocated in generalist and specialist subgroups varied according to the colony size. Nest maintenance, nursery and foragers were performed in both sets of observations. Behavioral syndromes were mostly affected by additional emergence of new workers. Generalists or multifunctional subgroup of workers were two fold more frequent when colony size reached their maximum size. Our results show that models of division of labor in social wasps may be affected by other factors than individual ontogeny. Neotropical swarm founding wasps are an ideal model to understand how adaptive mechanisms permitted the success of these wasps in their environments.