Low mating frequency of queens in the stingless bee Scaptotrigona postica and worker maternity of males.

Robert Paxton, L.R. Bego, S. Mateus, M.M. Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Kin selection models of intracolonial conflict over the maternity of males predict that social hymenopteran workers should favour the production of sons and nephews over brothers when the effective mating frequency (me) of the queen is low (me2. Stingless bees have been used to support these models in that me within the group is considered low and workers are thought often to monopolise the parentage of males. We genetically analysed 20 worker and 20 male pupae from each of 10 colonies of the stingless bee Scaptotrigona postica (= Scaptotrigona aff. depilis) using six microsatellite loci and demonstrate queen monandry in eight nests and apparent low me in the other two. However, four colonies contained an additional matriline, possibly due to queen supersedure (serial polygyny), which complicated their genetic structure. Across colonies, workers were responsible for the maternity of 13% of all males. These data are broadly in agreement with predictions from kin selection theory, though the question remains open as to why workers do not secure a greater share of male maternity in this and other stingless bee species in which workers are more closely related to nephews than brothers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-181
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume53 (3)
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003

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