Article: article from journal or magazin.
Clypeal patterning in the paper wasp Polistes dominulus: no evidence of adaptive value in the wild
Status signals function in a number of species to communicate competitive ability to conspecific rivals during competition for resources. In the paper wasp Polistes dominulus, variable black clypeal patterns are thought to be important in mediating competition among females. Results of previous behavioral experiments in the lab indicate that P dominulus clypeal patterns provide information about an individual's competitive ability to rivals during agonistic interactions. To date, however, there has been no detailed examination of the adaptive value of clypeal patterns in the wild. To address this, we looked for correlations between clypeal patterning and various fitness measures, including reproductive success, hierarchical rank, and survival, in a large, free-living population of P. dominulus in southern Spain. Reproductive success over the nesting season was not correlated with clypeal patterning. Furthermore, there was no relationship between a female's clypeal patterning and the rank she achieved within the hierarchy or her survival during nest founding. Overall, we found no evidence that P dominulus clypeal patterns are related to competitive ability or other aspects of quality in our population. This result is consistent with geographical variation in the adaptive value of clypeal patterns between P. dominulus populations; however, data on the relationship between patterning and fitness from other populations are required to test this hypothesis.
clypeal pattern, fitness, Polistes dominulus, quality, status signalling, wild
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