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

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Rebel workers in honeybee have tendency to become intraspecific reproductive parasite

Author(s):
Karolina Kuszewska, Karolina Kuszewska , Krzysztof Miler , Wiktoria Rojek , Monika Ostap , Michal Woyciechowski
Institution(s):
Faculty of Biology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland; Faculty of Biology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland ; Faculty of Biology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland ; Faculty of Biology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland ; Faculty of Biology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland ; Faculty of Biology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
The honey bee is one of those species in which intraspecific reproductive parasitism can exist and  workers are sometimes found reproducing in their own or foreign colonies. In this research, we compare tendency to be intraspecific parasite between normal honey bee workers characterized by not so high reproductive potential, and recently discovered new subcaste of honey bee workers, called ‘rebel workers’, characterized by high reproductive potential. We expected that this high reproductive potential of rebel workers can influences their life strategy and these individuals can more often drift to other colonies and lay their own eggs. The result confirm our expectation and showed that 20.5-38.9% rebel workers drifted to other foreign colonies while only 2.6-7.6% normal workers did the same (P = 0.0002). The rebel workers also preferred to drift to queenless colonies than queenright (P = 0.0304) while the normal workers didn’t show this preferences (P = 0.8845). The rebels had also more ovarioles in the ovary than normal workers (P < 0.001) and their ovarioles was more often activated than in normal workers (P < 0.001). The number of ovarioles and their activation in normal workers were not differ between individuals collected from different type of colonies (P > 0.05), while between the rebel workers these parameters were statistically significant and depends on  type of colonies were workers were caught (P < 0.001). Rebels with more ovarioles in ovary preferred drift to queenlees colony, rebels with less ovarioles drifted to queenright colony while those with the least number of ovarioles stayed in own colony. These results showed that rebels have tendency to reproductive parasitic behavior which also could enhance to maintenance of rebel workers strategy in bee population.
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